A record 102 players who still have NCAA eligibility remaining have decided to enter this year’s NFL draft, and the head of the Senior Bowl doesn’t think that’s a good thing for the sport.
“I think it’s an issue and something for the good of the game, both at the college level and the NFL level, that’s going to have to be addressed, one way or the other,” Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage told the Charlotte Observer. “When you see almost 100 underclassmen come into the draft, and there are 250-some odd slots, there’s going to be a lot of kids that have been sold a bill of goods come the first week of May. Personally I think it’s bad for college football and I think it’s bad for the NFL, because players are coming into the league after three years of college and they’re not ready.”
It’s also, obviously, bad for the Senior Bowl. As fewer and fewer top prospects stay in college through their senior seasons, the all-star game featuring the best seniors becomes less and less important.
But a college junior doesn’t have any responsibility to do what’s best for college football, what’s best for the NFL or what’s best for the Senior Bowl. He has a responsibility to do what’s best for himself. And if you’re a good enough football player to play in the NFL, the best thing to do is to go make a living, rather than keep playing in college for free. And so the trend toward the top juniors heading to the NFL will only continue.