The college football season has concluded. And, with that, the focus moves to the National Football League. After this weekend, we will know who will be in the 2019 Super Bowl. However, where these two worlds will collide is at the NFL draft. This years draft will begin on April 25th. But, the deadline for underclassmen to forego their remaining collegiate eligibility in order to enter the 2019 NFL Draft was January 14th. Today, we take a look at those 2019 NFL draft early entrants.
A quick look at the process
The new buzzword in college football is the transfer portal. This has become the equivalent of free agency in the NFL. But, with all due respect to college footballs transfer process, foregoing eligibility at the college level has been part of the football season for many years. Now, the process is fairly simple for early entrants. After three years in college, a player is eligible to put their name into the draft. The only caveat is that once that player declares, they cannot reverse that decision. This year there are 96 early entrants into the NFL draft.
The NFL draft consists of seven rounds, with a total of 254 selections. There are 38% of the 2019 NFL draft will consist of early entrants. One would only expect that number to go up in the years to come from an already high percentage. The lifelong dream to play in the NFL and forego the rigors of juggling class and football will continue to be too enticing for some to skip. Be that as it may, we begin to look through each position at some key early entrants.
Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray, and Daniel Jones lead the pack at the quarterback position. Haskins is most likely going to be the first quarterback taken in the draft. Now, there is a good chance that all three go in the first 10 overall picks. The New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Denver Broncos are likely to select a quarterback in the first round.
With the exception of generational players like Adrian Peterson and Saquon Barley, running backs don’t typically go early in the draft. Even though, we don’t expect that to happen early. Keep an eye on David Montgomery of Iowa State. He is a versatile back with good speed, ability to make the defender miss and a great receiver out of the backfield.
D.K. Metcalf and Marquise Brown are primed for middle to late rounds at the wide receiver position. In some mock drafts, Brown has been linked to the Cleveland Browns which would make for an interesting reunion with Baker Mayfield. Finally, Jonah Williams, Greg Little, and Cody Ford are certain first-round selections. Williams was one of the anchors of the Alabama offensive line and could easily go in the top five.
Along the defensive line should be the biggest impact in terms of early entrants. As many as five should be selected in the first round. Quinnen Williams and Nick Bosa will be two of the first four picks of the draft. Ed Oliver and Clelin Ferrell are expected to go in the top 10 with each having dominant careers at their collective position. Finally, Michigan standout Rashan Gary should most likely be in a position to be drafted no worse than 15th overall.
Deionte Thompson of Alabama leads the charge in the secondary as a ball-hawking safety who should be drafted in the middle of the first round. Now, perhaps the best name for a defensive back is Greedy Williams of LSU. He is a lock-down cover corner and could be one of the steals of the draft. However, Byron Murphy of Washington DeAndre Baker of Georgia is extremely talented and will have every opportunity to move up in the draft.
Wrapping it up
Now, there is a lot of time between now and April 25th. With the combine and three months of time, we can see a lot of movement up and down the draft board. But, the fact remains that the early entrants are becoming an increasingly interesting part of the draft.
In fact, as we look at some of the match-ups this weekend in the conference championship games there is proof of success. First, Patrick Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm and is quite possibly the MVP of the league. Then, you have Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams who was also the number one pick and in fact an early entree as well.
The conference championship games could certainly be a couple of the closest in recent memory. Actually, in both games, each point spread is only three points in each game in favor of the home team Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. As you focus your eyes and in some cases your betting eyes on the games this weekend, who will you be betting on as the biggest early enrollee picks in the 2019 NFL draft?