The 2016 NFL Draft is still more than five months away, but this is an important period for how the class will shape up. The NFL season is coming to a close with Week 17 taking place on Jan. 3 and bowl season starts to heat up this weekend with several top college programs playing their final games.
The 2015 NFL season has been marked by parity, and there has been no clear “worst team.” With just three wins, the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans own the worst records, but the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, and San Francisco 49ers all have four wins. With two games remaining on the league’s schedule, there are also four other teams with just five victories.
Those teams will have a shot at landing some top talent, with most early mock drafts projecting top juniors to be picked with the top selections. Linebacker Joey Bosa of Ohio State, quarterback Paxton Lynch of Memphis, and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss are also expected to be top picks in April, but all three juniors have yet to declare their intention to forego their final season.
The etiquette for announcing intentions to make the jump to the NFL has always been a bit murky. Some players keep quiet about their plans due to their focus on finishing off their college careers in their upcoming bowl game. Others perceive announcing plans about their future in the NFL, while an important college football looms, as a distraction to their team.
But it has also become common for a player to make an announcement in December prior to the bowl game. USC linebacker Su'a Cravens announced his intention to skip his senior year on Wednesday, as the Holiday Bowl awaits on Dec. 30. Cravens' decision is considered early and well before the Jan. 15 deadline, though players have a 72-hour window to change their minds.
The league’s rules on early entry players are fairly clear.
“To be eligible for the draft, players must have been out of high school for three years and must have used up their college eligibility before the start of the next college football season. Underclassmen and players who have graduated before using all their college eligibility may request the league’s approval to enter the draft early.”
Here is a list of some of notable players, based on reports, who have already indicated they will forego their final season, and declare for the draft.
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Su’a Cravens, USC, LB
Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Myles Jack, UCLA, LB
Quinton Jefferson, DL, Maryland
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Alex McCalister, DE, Florida
Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Maryland
Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona