Thursday was the deadline for this year's underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft. Depending on where you look, anywhere from 90 to 98 total prospects have done so. The final number if it holds, would smash last year's record setting 73. Here's the unofficial list
The NFL will release an official list on Sunday when the Donte Stallworth Rule expires. The Donte Stallworth Rule: Any prospect that has declared for the draft but not signed with an agent has 72 hours to reconsider the early entry. This rule was put into effect when Stallworth initially declared himself eligible but reconsidered his decision after a day or two but was forced to stay in per league rules at the time. After this case, the league enacted a rule change allowing prospects the opportunity to go back but very few do.
I will not list the bigger no question he should've gone pro names but will name a few that were smart in leaving early.
Davante Adams WR Fresno State
- Adams smartly declared as had he stayed in school, he would've risked a major fall off in production after losing his senior QB David Carr.
Terrance West RB Towson
- A small school guy like he is needs to strike while the iron is hot, not to mention the short shelf life of running backs. West could be a good change of pace playmaker 3rd back type.
Allen Robinson WR Penn State
- Robinson made the right choice in leaving as the Lions are going through a coaching change. What makes me question the move slightly is that he could've improved upon his numbers in 2014 with freshman phenom QB Christian Hackenberg gaining a year in experience. Good move nonetheless. Robinson won't blow you away with his speed but is a Hines Ward type of plodding yet effective receiver.
Devonta Freeman RB Florida State
- Freeman is declaring after becoming the first Seminole running back to break the 1,000 yard barrier since Warrick Dunn did it in the mid 1990's. He isn't getting any bigger (5'8 200) so going pro is the right move. Also factoring in is that the Noles have a deep and talented stable of backs returning so it would've been no guarantee that Freeman would've gotten so many carries in 2014. He is an outstanding pass blocker, willing to take on any and all blitzers.
Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State and De'Anthony Thomas RB/WR/KR Oregon
- These two diminutive playmakers are making the right decision to go early. Cooks is cashing in on his high stock after breaking all sorts of school records for receiving. Thomas when healthy, has proven to be an electric weapon out of the backfield and in the return game much like a Darren Sproles. Like many have predicted, Thomas wasn't the type of guy that can handle the load as the feature guy. The speed demon is much more effective in limited doses. Cooks could be an effective slot receiver at the next level.
Any of the Cal players
- It speaks volumes about the colossal disarray that the Bears program is under more than anything. Why else would borderline draftable prospects declare early? Cal struggled in 2013 to a 1-11 record, managing to beat FCS (D-1AA) Portland State by a slim margin.
Aaron Lynch DE South Florida
- You think Clowney mailed it in this year? This guy somehow outdid Clowney in that department. The former Notre Dame standout transferred to USF to be close to home. Think Kenny Britt any time he steps into the state of New Jersey and you get Lynch. He has well documented mommy and girlfriend issues that don't involve either party having illnesses or any other type of trauma. Lynch effectively quit on the Bulls in 2013, possibly thinking that he would be drafted high off his Notre Dame numbers.
Bradley Roby CB Ohio State
- Roby's junior season was a total disaster after a promising sophomore campaign. He dealt with injuries (including a knee problem that forced him to miss the bowl game) and was burnt repeatedly when he was on the field. There are off the field problems as well.
Louchiez Purifoy CB Florida
- See Bradley Roby above minus the off the field problems.
Martavis Bryant WR Clemson
- A bigger Mike Wallace if you will. He should've stayed in school and proved that he knows more than one route. Another year would've been beneficial for him to prove that he's capable of being the man after losing Sammy Watkins and Nuke Hopkins in consecutive years. The only upside in his decision is that Clemson is losing QB Tajh Boyd and his replacements are less than stellar.