As has been the case each year since 2009, the number of underclassmen who’ve declared for the NFL draft has increased. The NFL announced last week that 73 players have been granted “special eligibility” for this year’s draft, a figure that is up from 65 in 2012 and 56 from 2011.
On top of the raw number of underclassmen who’ve declared for this year’s NFL draft, it’s also interesting to note the quality of underclassmen who’ve declared. Widely-projected Top 10 picks such as Texas A&M LT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore, LSU DE Barkevious Mingo, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, Florida State DE Bjoern Werner and Alabama CB Dee Milliner are all underclassmen.
With the number of underclassmen declaring for the draft continuing to increase and with the number of quality underclassmen declaring increasing as well, event such as the Senior Bowl become that much more important. The Senior Bowl is now the most important moment for the nation’s top seniors because it’s their opportunity to showcase themselves to the NFL at a time when the NFL is not otherwise concerned with underclassmen.
Even more important than the actual game, though, is the week of preparation leading up to the game. NFL coaches and scouts will watch each team practice for several days leading up to Saturday’s game, and they’ll cram in as many interviews as possible off the field with these seniors this week because when NFL teams descend upon Indianapolis in late February for the Combine, much of their focus when it comes to the all-important interview process will be on underclassmen.
Yes, the fact that so many underclassmen are declaring for the draft does take some attention away from the nation’s best senior players at times such as the Combine, pro days and even draft day. But that just makes this week’s event – the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama – even more important.
We’ll be covering the Senior Bowl all week here on vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog, so stay tuned for updates.
Tags: 2013 Senior Bowl
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 32 Comments »