After fifteen years as a NFL scout and front office executive, I continue to work hard at tracking trends and data of the yearly NFL Draft, the bloodline of every NFL organization. The Underclassmen or juniors will continue to make a huge impact in terms of numbers to boost options for teams. The yearly surge of top notch talent gave the draft depth in the first four rounds.

From ’95 -’10, seventy Underclassmen were drafted in the top ten – that’s 14.8%. Where the underclassmen make their biggest impact as far as numbers and talent is in the first round. Generally, juniors decide to give up their collegiate eligibility because there is nothing else to accomplish at that level. Several others are cheating themselves by not staying in school and finishing their college degrees, because of agents, parents and financial issues with families that make their decisions easy.

Between ’95-’10 there were 185 underclassmen drafted in the first round; 39.2% of the players drafted in that time frame. The remaining rounds 2-4 stack as follows; Second round 91 players for 19.3%, Third round 72 players for 15.3% and Fourth round 54 players for 11.4%. The late rounds in the NFL draft for underclassmen are fairly even in numbers, Fifth round 28 players for 5.9%, Sixth round 20 players for 4.2% and Seventh round 22 players for 4.7%.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, just because you give up your final year in college and apply for the draft thru the NFL office, you aren’t guaranteed to get drafted, let alone play in the National Football League. The total number of Underclassmen that declare between ’95-’10 was 665. Only 472 were drafted, leaving 29.0% non-drafted or 193 players standing on the outside looking in. All teams have benefited from the infusion of young talent every year; 71% of all Underclassmen that declare get drafted. RED bolded players are new to the list.


Nick Foles : Arizona

Andrew Luck: Stanford

Ryan Mallett: Arkansas

Cam Newton: Auburn

Dominique Davis: East Carolina


Mark Ingram: Alabama

LaMichael James: Oregon

Shane Vereen: California

Ryan Williams: Virginia Tech

Lance Dunbar: North Texas

Bobby Rainey: Western Kentucky

Jordan Todman: Connecticut


Kyle Rudolph: Notre Dame


Johnathan Baldwin: Pittsburgh

Justin Blackmon: Oklahoma State

Ryan Broyles: Oklahoma

Michael Floyd: Notre Dame

A.J. Green: Georgia

Julio Jones: Alabama

Marvin McNutt: Iowa

Cole Beasley: SMU

Juron Criner: Arizona

Joe Adams: Arkansas

Jeff Fuller : Texas A&M

Torrey Smith: Maryland



Matt Reynolds: BYU

Tyron Smith: USC


Brandon Harris: Miami

Janoris Jenkins: Florida

Patrick Peterson: LSU

Aaron Williams: Texas

Brandon Burton: Utah

Donnie Fletcher: Boston College

Casey Hayward: Vanderbilt

Chase Minnifield: Virgina


Mark Barron: Alabama

Will Hill: Florida

Rahim Moore: UCLA


Travis Lewis: Oklahoma

Don’ta Hightower: Alabama

Akeem Ayers: UCLA

Jerry Franklin: Arkansas

Lavonte David: Nebraska

Danny Trevathan: Kentucky

Sammy Brown: Houston

Vinny Curry: Marshall



Da’Quan Bowers: Clemson

Marcell Dareus: Alabama

Robert Quinn: North Carolina

Aldon Smith: Missouri

J.J. Watts: Wisconsin


Nick Fairley: Auburn

Jared Crick: Nebraska

Jurrell Casey: USC

Muhammad Wilkerson: Temple

Punt Returner:

Tony Logan: Maryland

All Purpose:

Randall Cobb: Kentucky, WO/RS

Damaris Johnson: Tulsa, WO/RS

Tandom Doss: Indiana, WO/RS

The bottom line is that underclassmen have a huge effect on the yearly draft in the early rounds. During ’95-’10 window, 2515 prospects were drafted, and of those picks 18.8% were Underclassmen.

The bottom line is that underclassmen have a huge effect on the yearly draft in the early rounds. During ’95-’10 window, 2515 prospects were drafted, and of those picks 18.8% were Underclassmen.