Declaring early for NFL Draft – Is it worth the risk?

By Justin VanFulpen

This time of the year in college football, the mock drafts start coming out and people start talking about what players will declare early.  But just because some on the internet is saying that this player should declare early or someone close to the player telling him that he should leave school early might not know all the facts.

  1. NFL Scouts aren’t allowed to scout underclassmen. True this rule will change next year with the new agreement with the AFCA and NFL takes effect.  Scouts do look at the guys that they know for sure will be coming out early, but their main focus is the senior prospects.  The underclassmen that aren’t general accepted as a 1st round pick there is rarely any work done on them during the season.
  1. Underclassmen aren’t allowed at post season all-star games. 5 years ago with the NFLPA started the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl they were going to challenge the NFL rule and did allow one underclassmen in the game.  That caused the NFL teams not to send a single scout to that all-star game.  Because of that the NFLPA has only allowed seniors in their all-star game for then on.  As we saw in the 2013 NFL Draft All-Star games are a big part of the process where OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan went from a late first rounder all the way up to the number one overall pick because of his play at the Senior Bowl.
  1. NFL Combine – First official time NFL scouts can talk to underclassmen. Just because a prospect has declared early doesn’t automatically get him an invite to the NFL combine. So if a prospect is not invited then really the first time a scout get to talk with a prospect is at his school Pro Day.
  1. NFL Draft Advisory Board – The board is composed of general managers and personnel directors from a number of NFL teams, along with the directors of the NFL’s two scouting combines, BLESTO and National. A prospect can ask for their assessment on where he is projected to get drafted.  The board will return their assessment of the prospect with three possible grades – first round, second round, or neither, which means that the board advises the player to stay in school. The school can get a hold of the NFL Draft Advisory Board or the prospect can contact the NFL Player Personnel Department directly.
  1. Last year there was a record of 107 underclassmen declaring early for the NFL Draft of that 30 players didn’t get drafted. Which was a little over 28% of the players that declared didn’t get drafted that was the same percentage in 2015 and in 2014 it was all the way up to 39.2% of the players that declared didn’t get drafted.

Every prospects situation is different when thinking about declaring early for the NFL Draft but each prospect should get as much information as possible in regards to leaving school early for the NFL Draft.

NFL Draft: NFL Combine/Pro Day Training

By Justin VanFulpen

In the past 20 years since Mike Mamula’s 1995 NFL Combine, training for the NFL Combine has become a big business.  There are hundreds of places that say they do NFL Combine training and now training facilities recruit like agents.  But do you need to go to a big training facility to be successful in the NFL draft the answer is NO.

If we look at this year’s draft two of the top five players drafted WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (Drafted by the Raiders 4th overall) and OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa (Drafted by the Redskins 5th overall) both trained at school.  Also Bud Dupree, Kentucky the 22nd overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers trained at school.

17 players that where drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft trained at school.   There are different factors that need to be looked at when making a decision where to training for the NFL Combine or your Pro Day.  A few of them are:

Location – Everyone loves the sun and warm weather but remember where the NFL Combine is located at.  It is in Indianapolis, Indiana in late February.  I have been in the NFL combine for the past 15 years it is never warm and sunny.  Also think about where you go to school since that is where your Pro Day is at.  Players in the past have gone away to train in warm weather and then haven’t performed as well as they wanted to in Indy or at their school Pro Day since the weather was complete different.

Personal Attention – How many guys will you be training with? Will there be 50 guys training with you and if so how much work on technique will there be done. If you are going somewhere other the school most likely you or someone else is paying that trainer, so that trainer gets paid no matter if you get drafted or don’t so just need to make sure they have your best interest in mind as well.

Position Specific Training – Who is working with you to get better at your position? Will there be anyone that played or coached your position before?

Medical/Rehab – After every football season everyone body is banged up or have some type of injury could be major or minor but need to have a place that will take that into consideration.

Familiar Surrounding – Depending on your bowl game/playoffs as well as getting invited to an all-star game you won’t have a lot of time to get settled into your routine before the NFL combine so that is something to take into consideration.

Your Individual Plan – Some guys don’t take a lot of this into consideration and just default into whatever work for past teams or what they feel is a “big” name training facility.  But you need to remember that everyone is different.

But when you get to training for the combine or your Pro Day 80% of your grade has already be decided with what you did on the field.  Because as everyone knows the eye in the sky doesn’t lie when it comes to film.

In any type of training the biggest thing is you are going get out what you put in.