Record 73 underclassmen granted early entry into draft

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One of the arguments presented in favor of a rookie wage scale was that it would remove the incentive for underclassmen to leave school early and buy a ticket to the draft-day lottery.  One of the arguments presented against a rookie wage scale was that it would encourage more kids to come out early so that they could begin to establish years of service and performance in anticipation of a big-money second contract.

So far, the latter argument seems to be the better argument.

The NFL has announced that a 73 players, including possible first overall pick Luke Joeckel, have been granted “special eligibility” for the draft.  These players have satisfied the rule preventing entry into the draft until at least three years after the player’s high-school class has graduated.

The league office advises that this is a record number of early entries.

The number has increased in 2013 from 65 in 2012.  In 2011, 56 players left school early for the draft.

In 2010, the year in which plenty of players were believed to be attempting to beat the arrival of the rookie wage scale, only 53 entered the draft early.  The year before that, it was 46.

So in four years the number is up 58 percent.  Since the arrival of the rookie wage scale, the numbers are up by 37 percent.

Thus, it’s fair to wonder whether at least some of the players are choosing to leave not to get huge money now but to work toward getting huge money after logging three or four NFL seasons.

23 responses to “Record 73 underclassmen granted early entry into draft

  1. Or they are realizing how precious little time they have to make money playing a game. Hmm make money playing football…or go to school.

  2. It could be they don’t want to risk injury without be compensated. Or they look at the barkley’s and Landry jones who stayed and now cost themselves millions by staying.

  3. Or it’s because of fear for injuries and not being drafted at all after their senior year. Or their draft stock dropping. And ofcourse there’s the opportunity to play in the NFL and get paid this year instead of waiting another year.

  4. The majority of these kids will always want to leave early. Money talks with or without a rookie scale. It’s always going to motivate them.
    The way they get scrutinized injury wise coming out (rightfully so), it only makes sense to get there before you have too many “dings” in college.

  5. I hope a lot of these guys try to finish their degrees online or part-time in the off-season. The average NFL career is anywhere from three to six years depending on who you ask. Have a plan B guys, chances are you’ll need it.

  6. I think that more juniors turned pro because of delusions of grandeur rather than working towards that second contract. Certain players like Joeckel and Bjoern Werner turned pro because they are sure to be high draft picks. I don’t believe many of these young men are thinking that far ahead to the second contract. They are just tired of school and/or want to start making money. I think probably less than half of these 73 will get drafted, and will get a hard dose of reality.

  7. @esracerx46

    Agreed!!! Does anyone realize what a joke it is to be a NCAA football or basketball student?

    They violate their academic standards to accept them, have them take garbage courses and majors, and worst of all … the scholarships are only one-year deals.

    Four years = Four One-Year deals.

  8. Obviously it comes down to money. Considering the average NFL carreer is something like 5 years (guesstimate) it makes perfect sense for more and more to come out early so they can sign at least one sizable contract and set themselves up for life (assuming they can manage their money). Can’t say I’d do anything different, especially if I plaed one of the higher risk positions like RB or QB.

  9. niners816 says:
    Jan 19, 2013 11:09 AM
    Please get off Johnny “footballs” jock.
    Agreed. The guy looked good this year, but I am curious how it’s going to turn out next year when Chavis and Smart/Saban have a year of tape to scheme against him. Lets not forget also that Texas A&M is losing some substantial OL players.

  10. If they believe they will make an NFL team’s 53 man roster, they would be foolish to stay in college. Even a 7th round pick who stays in the league long enough to reach unrestricted free agency is making a good choice. A few players can improve their draft standing by staying in college but there are just as many who lower it.

  11. Not really convinced. Too many other factors to consider. Such as the growing popularity of the NFL, the chance of getting a job out of college is lower, growing population. Just to name a few. When your working retail in between classes. I don’t think the difference in a 50mil contract and a 5mil has too much effect on motivation to leave school. Id leave early for both, no hesitation. You can always finish your education later.

  12. “One of the arguments presented in favor of a rookie wage scale was that it would remove the incentive for underclassmen to leave school early and buy a ticket to the draft-day lottery.”

    Maybe a minor argument. The primary reason was to avoid expensive first round busts that so negatively affected a team’s salary cap. It was money that was leaving the game. Now that sanity is restored, it’s possible to trade any of the first five picks where it wasn’t before.

  13. I seriously doubt that many of these players (if any at all) are leaving early to try to accrue years of service to get their first big money contract. There are so many things to worry about when leaving college for the NFL draft. Will you get drafted? If so will you make the roster? If so will you show enough in your first season to avoid the frequent ‘one and done’. Will injury derail your career before it has really got going? Will you get a chance to show your potential? Will you fit in with the scheme of the team that drafts you?

    With all that to care about, getting through your rookie contract (which is still a massive amount of money for a student remember) a year faster has to be way down on the list of worries.

  14. Let’s not forget too, the job market is terrible and most grads are having problems getting entry level jobs. In my opinion college is a huge rip off unless you know exactly what field you want to enter into and concentrate on just that field. My daughter will be graduating this spring and we’ve paid for most of her costs but I don’t see her even getting a chance to use her degree. At least she won’t be strapped for as much as most these kids.

  15. Maybe they’re realizing a college degree guarantees them nothing. They can get it when their four or five years in the NFL are over.

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