NFL Draft Has 74 Early Entries; CFL Takes Note
Today's the point of no return for dreams and dreamers.
The list of underclassmen who have decided -- reasonably or rashly -- that they're next level material right now has been carved in stone.
To view the candidates, click here.
Doing the math, here's their total slice of the population to be chosen on Draft Day in Chicago, starting on Sat 30 May:
- 32 NFL teams × 7 picks per team = 224 draft slots (not counting provisionals)
- 74 early entrants ÷ 224 draft slots = 33% of the draft slots
Toss in the fact that roughly 3500 players are eligible in one form or another, and it becomes abundantly clear that those early entrants had best be pretty special.
The NFL's evaluation service only projects first- and second-rounders now. The idea is to drop the hint as to who's pretty special and who isn't. Some, like Auburn OL Avery Young, got the message. Others, like WRs George Farmer of USC and Doriel Green-Beckham of Oklahoma, are forsaking the service's advice.
Ohio State sensations Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott were under one form of pressure or another to make the jump, but they didn't have to look further than disgraced ex-Buckeye Maurice Clarett to make a decision.
Of course, there are no-brainers, as deemed by the service. For example:
Undrafted free agents do make it in the NFL, of course. Seattle Seahawks big-game hero Jermaine Kearse is a classic example:
But stories like that are few and far between. And Kearse was a college senior; that extra season no doubt weighed heavily in his pro success, which had another chapter written as the centerpiece of Seattles' miracle comeback against Green Bay for the NFC championship:
Instead of a spike, Kearse tossed the pigskin deep into the stands in a show of what he said was a mix of elation and frustration. The dude who caught it turned down a $20,000 offer from a collector and instead returned it to Kearse, who will try to get him to the Super Bowl in return. It'd have to be a quick trip, though, as the dude's got a jail sentence to serve, starting the next day.
It's stories like Kearse's, though, that give the marginals hope. But they're doing it with a slim safety net. Unlike baseball, hockey, and hoops, the only other nation that half gives a damn about gridiron football is Canada. The CFL has served as a springboard to a couple of notable pro careers -- Warren Moon and Doug Flutie come to mind -- and the occasional non-star gets a contract, but getting to The Shield via the Great White North is still a long-odds venture.
So for the 40%-or-so underclassmen who go undrafted, life's career path becomes even more of a crapshoot. For many, without the benefit of a scholarship to complete their degrees, the future could be dicey.
But hopefully, not as dicey as the dude who caught Kearse's football.