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NCAA Underclassmen Dominate NFL Draft

By Rob Rang | CBSSports.com
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CBSSPORTS.COM – While the NFL has yet to officially announce this year’s crop of underclassmen, the deadline for early entrants to renounce their collegiate eligibility and petition the NFL to join the 2013 Draft was Tuesday, Jan. 15.

In recent years, this date has become something of a “soft” deadline. The league has allowed underclassmen a few days after the list has become public for any to backpedal and return to school if they have not signed with an agent. This year, the “official” list isn’t expected to be released from the NFL until Saturday, Jan. 19.

Regardless of what the final tally is, the 2013 NFL Draft will feature a record number of underclassmen, continuing a three-year trend in which the number has steadily grown. The 2011 draft boasted a then-record high 56 underclassmen. The 2012 draft shattered that mark with 65 early entrants. At this point, NFLDraftScout.com’s Underclassmen Tracker lists 74 prospects as having publicly announced their intentions to enter the 2013 draft.

Just because a record number of underclassmen are entering the draft doesn’t necessarily mean they will create a huge impact. According to league historian Gil Brandt, more than a third of the underclassmen eligible last year went undrafted.

As it turns out, this year’s record crop of underclassmen, however, will indeed play a critical role in the 2013 draft. Half of NFLDraftScout.com’s current top 50 prospects are early entrants, including our top two rated prospects, Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel and Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. Underclassmen, in fact, make up six of NFLDraftScout.com’s top seven prospects with the only senior to break up the monopoly being Alabama guard Chance Warmack (No. 3 overall).

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