Right now here is the schedule for the 2021 College Football All-Star Game Calendar – As we all know subject to change due to Covid-19
With the majority of college football being canceled for the 2020 fall season due to COVID-19 concerns many players with the hope to play in the NFL should be looking to the 2022 NFL Draft not the 2021 NFL Draft, here is why.
- NCAA Council recommends eligibility relief for athletes who opt out and that would allow football players to retain their eligibility. So a prospect could opt out of the spring football schedule if school goes ahead with it and then have their eligibility for fall of 2021.
- With the SEC, Big 12, ACC, AAC, C-USA & Sun Belt all moving forward with a fall season the NFL will not move the NFL Draft and keep it in April 2021. Also with that being said if the NFL Draft keeps it schedule then most likely the NFL Combine keeps it schedule in late February.
- 80% of NFL Grade is based on film and if a prospect 2019 film had him a high draftable prospect the player most likely would have declared if he could have. Now the top graded players who where sophomore last year and not eligible will declare for the 2020 NFL Draft and should. The two scouting services the NFL uses (BLETSO & National) still did give out spring grades this spring.
- No benefit of playing in the Spring if prospect would burn eligible and the NFL keeps it draft in April of 2021. Also prospects shouldn’t want to play in the spring risk injury or just beating up body and then turn around and play in the fall of 2021.
- Prospect can use this full year to get bigger, stronger, faster and better at his skill set. Prospect can also lock in on school finish up and then have nothing to worry about but football in fall of 2021.
Yes each prospects situation is different but the prospect should want to do whatever gives him the best chance to be successful and get the best opportunity for the NFL Draft.
I have received questions from players on what they can do since the 2021 NFL Draft process was interrupted due to COVID-19. Many senior prospects didn’t have a “Junior Day” because campus where shut down before BLETSO or National Football scouts, the two scouting services the NFL uses, could get on campus.
1. Get your own measurements – As we saw before the 2020 NFL Draft, guys did their own Pro Day testing, so that scouts could get the information. If you are able to do your own height/weight/40, etc, you should do it, and be honest about everything. Even if one scouts get that information, see it on Twitter, You Tube, etc there are advantages. One they might do more research on you as a player and make sure they keep an eye on you. Two they will see you are serious about football and the next level process. Three you will know where you are at and how you can improve before the NFL combine, or your Pro Day in 2021. If you are not on the mock draft projected as a 1st round pick, you can use all the help you can get, especially if you are not from a Power 5 conference school.
2. Check Your Eligibility – With COVID-19 and schools going to online classes, some school grading has been changed from normal grade scales. But if a prospect is not going to be eligible in the fall, he would want to look into the NFL Supplemental Draft process. The NFL has said it will not change the requirements for the Supplemental Draft due to COVID-19, so there isn’t expected to be a higher number of players allowed in it, but something to check out to make sure you know where you are.
3. Thinking about Transferring – There is a possibility that some school will remain online in the fall and because of that the prospect of playing football in the fall would remain unlikely. The California State University system plans to move forward with virtual classes through the fall semester, and we could see other follow the same thought process. Since transferring down a level (FCS, D2, D3) doesn’t require you to sit out even if you haven’t graduated, for your NFL dreams it will be better to play this season and get film that not getting any film at all and hoping for the best.
4. Make Sure To Stay in Shape – When/If you get back to being able to go to the school facility you want to make sure you are ready to go.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off of summer, people normally will get together to BBQ and spend time with family and friends. It is also normally the official kick-off to the next years NFL Draft scouting process where the two scouting services BLETSO and National Football Scouting (NFS) have their annual meetings in Florida to read their spring grades on the upcoming senior prospects and go over the information that was gathered in the late winter/early spring at “Junior Days” on college campuses. Which this year due to COVID-19 those “Junior Days” did not happen. You might ask why does this even matter – I give you S Kyle Dugger. This time last year most of the football world did not even know who Kyle Dugger from Lenoir-Rhyne was. In the 2020 NFL Draft he was the 37th player drafted, the second safety drafted, and the New England Patriots first pick in the draft.
The last player drafted out of Lenoir-Rhyne was DL John Milem in the 5th round in 2000 by the San Fransico 49ers who played 20 games in the NFL in his career, and before Dugger was Lenoir-Rhyne highest player drafted ever. So not a hot bed of NFL talent when it comes to Lenoir-Rhyne history, which if you are wondering the school is in Hickory, North Carolina.
But that is why Junior Days are so import for small school prospects to be able to get on the radar for NFL teams, as well as the NFL Combine and All-Star games like the Senior Bowl in which Duger went to both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Last spring when BLETSO and National scouts came to Lenoir-Rhyne and did what they normal do with all Senior prospects a school has, getting their height/weight/arm length/hand size as well as some schools allow guys to run the 40. This past spring Duger was 6005/218 and ran a verified 4.45 in the 40-yard dash. So with his Junior film and his verified measurements both scouting services gave him a high grade but not close to a grade where he got drafted, but it got him on the radar to get invited to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine both hugely important for a small school prospect like him. At the NFL Combine he was 6007/217 and ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, not too much different from his spring numbers.
Without “Junior Days” this year because of COVID – 19 it will be harder for people to identify this year’s Kyle Duger.
This Memorial Day weekend both BLETSO and National will still hold their “Spring Grade” meeting but after talking with scouts it will be over Zoom instead of in person like normal. But without “Junior Days” small school prospects will have a harder time then in the past to be truly evaluated and get a legitimate opportunity.
The grades are just a road map for scouts as we have seen in the past 3 seasons all three number one overall picks (Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray & Joe Burrow) have come basically out of nowhere since all of them had less then a 4th round grade going into the season when their last season started. But it is a road map that is need as their are thousands of college football seniors, and the “Spring grades” not only identify who to evaluate but also who the scouts doesn’t need to spend their time evaluating.
With the 2020 NFL Draft in the books here is the average amount of players drafted at each position over the past 5 years (2016-2020) and the highs and lows.
QB – Average amount drafted – 12.4 – High amount drafted 15 (2016) Low amount drafted 10 (2017)
RB– Average amount drafted – 21.8 – High amount drafted 26 (2017) Low amount drafted 18 (2020)
FB – Average amount drafted – 1.8 – High amount drafted 3 (2016) Low amount drafted 0 (2020)
WR – Average amount drafted – 32.2 – High amount drafted 35 (2020) Low amount drafted 28 (2019)
TE – Average amount drafted – 13.0 – High amount drafted 16 (2019) Low amount drafted 9 (2016)
OT – Average amount drafted – 20.0 – High amount drafted 23 (2019) Low amount drafted 16 (2017)
OG – Average amount drafted – 12.6 – High amount drafted 18 (2020) Low amount drafted 10 (2018)
C – Average amount drafted – 7.2 – High amount drafted 9 (2020) Low amount drafted 5 (2019)
DE – Average amount drafted – 21.6 – High amount drafted 26 (2019) Low amount drafted 17 (2020, 2016)
DT – Average amount drafted – 20.6 – High amount drafted 22 (2016) Low amount drafted 20 (2020, 2018, 2017)
LB – Average amount drafted – 34.8 – High amount drafted 39 (2018, 2020) Low amount drafted 28 (2017)
CB – Average amount drafted – 30.8 – High amount drafted 34 (2017) Low amount drafted 27 (2020)
S – Average amount drafted – 20.2 – High amount drafted 23 (2017) Low amount drafted 19 (2019, 2018)
K – Average amount drafted – 2.2– High amount drafted 3 (2017, 2020) Low amount drafted 1 (2016)
P – Average amount drafted – 2.2 – High amount drafted 4 (2018) Low amount drafted 0 (2017)
Here is the breakdown for the 2020 NFL Draft between Senior and Underclassmen drafted.
Round by Round:
1st round (32 picks) – Seniors: 9 (28.1%) – Underclassmen: 23 (71.8%)
2nd round (32 picks) – Seniors: 15 (46.8%) – Underclassmen: 17 (53.2%)
3rd round (42 picks) – Seniors: 34 (80.9%) – Underclassmen: 8 (19.0%)
4th round (40 picks) – Seniors: 28 (70.0%) – Underclassmen: 12 (30.0%)
5th round (33 picks) – Seniors: 26 (78.7%) – Underclassmen: 7 (21.2%)
6th round (35 picks) – Seniors: 31 (88.5%) – Underclassmen: 4 (11.4%)
7th round (41 picks) – Seniors: 37 (90.2%) – Underclassmen: 4 (9.7%)
Top 25 Picks: Seniors: 6 (28.0%) – Underclassmen: 19 (72.0%)
Top 50 Picks: Seniors: 15 (42.0%) – Underclassmen: 35 (58.0%)
Top 100 Picks: Seniors: 51 (50.0%) – Underclassmen: 49 (50.0%)
Top 150 Picks: Seniors: 94 (62.6%) – Underclassmen: 56 (37.3%)
Big Ten: 48
Big 12: 21
Mount West: 10
Independent FBS: 9
Sun Belt: 7
By 1st round picks:
Big 10: 5
Mount West: 1
A lot of people believe that the NFL Draft is made up of the Power 5 college football conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC & Pac-12) in college football but that is not totally the case. If we take a look at the past 5 NFL Draft we see that there are a good amount of draft picks that come from other levels of college football.
2020 NFL Draft (255 picks):
58 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (22.7%)
9 of those 53 Non-FBS
Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love, Utah State – 1st round 26th overall was earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
New England Patriots Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne- 2nd round 37th overall was earliest Non-FBS pick.
2019 NFL Draft (254 picks):
53 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (20.8%)
16 of those 53 Non-FBS
Buffalo Bills DT Ed Oliver, Houston – 1st round 9th overall was earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
Houston Texans OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State- 1st round 23rd overall was earlies Non-FBS pick.
2018 NFL Draft (256 picks):
63 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (24.6%)
22 of those 63 Non-FBS
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, Wyoming – 1st round 7th overall was earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert – 2nd round 49th overall was earliest Non-FBS pick.
2017 NFL Draft (253 picks):
43 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (16.9%)
15 of those 43 Non-FBS
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan – 1st round 5thoverall was earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
Chicago Bears TE Adam Shaheen, Ashland – 2nd round 45th overall was earliest Non-FBS pick.
2016 NFL Draft (253 picks):
57 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (22.5%)
20 of those 57 Non-FBS
Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State -1st round 2nd overall was earliest Non-Power 5 and Non-FBS pick.
So just remember if you are in a Power 5 conference there are other guys looking to get drafted just as high as you are and if you are not in a Power 5 conference it doesn’t matter if you can play football the NFL will find you
College Football All-Star games are part of the pre-draft process that is more important then the NFL Combine and Pro Days because it is football and scouts can evaluate good on good players. The Senior Bowl is the best all-star game and one that all Senior prospects want to get invited to. Here is the amount of draft picks per all-star games.
Getting invite to an all-star can help out a NFL Draft prospect rise his draft status if he takes advantage.
When NFL scouts from the two scouting services BLETSO and National Football Scouting (NFS) go into a school to do their junior evaluation in February/March they are looking to grade the NFL draft prospects for the next year’s draft but also to eliminate players as guys who can’t play in the NFL. Scouts give draftable grades, undrafted free-agent grades and “reject” grades (Not a prospect at this time). The scouts give those players “reject” grades so scout in the fall don’t have to spend time on players who are deemed not NFL players.
The scouting services grade over 13,000 senior college football players each year at all levels of football and normally there are around 600 with draft able or free-agent grades. True do players with “reject” grades get draft? Yes but it is few and far between.
BLETSO and National have their spring meeting to go over grades around Labor Day time in May to be able to help set the scouts schedule for training camps visits in the summer. Prospects are not told what their spring grade is by the two scouting services, but normally in the summer the grades get out and agents, financial advisors, media members and all-star games get their hands on them.
What goes into a spring grade:
- Junior Film
- Height/Weight/Speed – The scouts either get that information when on campus when the measure and weigh the prospect as well as get hand size and arm length. Some school will allow the prospects to run the 40 for the scouts but that is very few and mainly smaller schools. Some schools don’t allow scouts to do height/weight so the scout will just have to estimate the prospect height/weight/40 time.
- Background – Scouts will try to get information on prospect past both off the field and medical.
Spring grades are important for a number of reasons:
1. It is a road map for NFL scouts in the fall to where they should spend their most time.
2. National Football Scouting (NFS) runs the NFL Combine so if a player has a good spring grade he is more likely to get invited then if he doesn’t.
3. All-Star games try to get their hands on these grades and use them when they start to invite players to their games.
True as a Senior what you do on the field is most import to your final NFL draft grade, but it doesn’t hurt to start with a good spring grade going into your Senior season.