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NFL Rule Change Will Make College Football Teams Better

Every year an NFL rule change or two actually makes sense. Typically the changes are geared towards benefiting the NFL game, but not in this case.

@USATODAYsports/Twitter

@USATODAYsports/Twitter

This particular rule change will help the NFL game in the long run, but college football will see an even bigger benefit.

A college football player is eligible to enter the NFL Draft once they are three years removed from high school. For players that red shirt that means he can enter the draft after his second year of playing (i.e. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel) or after their junior seasons.

The number of players that declare early is growing with each and every year. It would be great if it was because they were NFL-ready. It’s so they can become eligible for their second contract–the big one–sooner.

However, after a new NFL rule change there may be fewer players declaring early. Not necessarily because they are not ready, but because the NFL is not going to tell them they are.

After every off-season schools are able to request a draft evaluation for players thinking about leaving college and entering the draft. In the past, the league would give one of five grades: 1) as high as the first round, 2) as high as the second round, 3) as high as the third round, 4) not in the first three rounds, and 5) not draftable.

Draft projections don’t always mean someone is going to go in that round. Missouri’s Michael Sam was projected to be a 3-4 round pick and nearly went undrafted.  Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III was expected to be a firs round pick, but didn’t go until the third.

Players rated to go in the latter rounds more often than not go undrafted. Even if they do get picked in the latter rounds that does not mean they are a shoe-in to make the team.

What is regrettable is that if many of these players stayed in school another season they would have improved their game, and would likely go a lot higher in the draft. With the new grading system the NFL in it’s own way will be encouraging players to do just that.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban broke the news on how the NFL is going to do it:

With the new rules in place it will be surprising to see 98 players declare early like last year. Getting to that second contract sooner will not matter if they don’t even get the first one.

So that means college football teams will have more veteran players on the field which should equate to better games. That will also mean the NFL will be getting players that are more NFL ready than ones in the past.

Sounds like a win-win.

[NFL]

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