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Your Call: Are you OK with your team drafting underclassmen?

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Isaac Owusu, TSN.ca
1/19/2014 8:34:16 PM
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The upcoming NFL Draft has no shortage of big name NCAA players, including a record number of early entrants.

May's Draft will see underclassmen enter, forgoing their senior years with hopes of being picked into the pros.

How comfortable are you with your team picking an underclassman in the draft?

The top of the draft is dominated by names like Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, Sammy Watkins, HaHa Clinton Dix and Blake Bortles - all underclassmen.

Some would say it's to the benefit of these players to stay in school and work on their craft while at the same time pursuing their degrees. However, declared underclassmen do meet the NFL's three-year eligibility rule, with some leaving school as just red-shirted sophomores.

Would you prefer your team invest a draft pick on a prospect who isn't an early entry?

Teams have being willing to take chances on non-seniors in the past. In the last three drafts, an average of 72 per cent of the underclassmen who declared were drafted.

Last season's draft saw a then-record 73 players forego their eligibility. While only 52 of them were selected, there were 15 picked in the first round.

Of those first-rounders, just four started all 16 games, including Eric Reid, Justin Pugh, Deandre Hopkins, and Alex Ogletree.

At every position there are as many cases where it has worked for an underclassman to declare as there are instances where it hasn't.

Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell serves as an example of the negative in coming out early. After coming to the NFL after his junior season at LSU, he lasted only 31 games in the league, and has not played an NFL snap since 2009.

On the flip side, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck also came out as a junior, and already has two playoff appearances in as many seasons.

With this, would you rather your team spend a draft pick on a player who stayed in school to work on his skills in the NCAA? Or are you fine with your team taking a risk and selecting a player looking to come into the league early, perhaps still a little raw?

As always, it's Your! Call.

Johnny Manziel (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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