NFL insider notebook: New NIL rules could impact flow of underclassmen turning pro, plus Week 2 picks

Present underclassmen at faculties throughout the nation might take a look at this 12 months’s NFL Draft and see a possibility for themselves. 100 of the 128 underclassmen who declared acquired drafted. No NFL Draft earlier than had seen greater than 73 underclassmen be drafted, and 9 of the highest 10 drafted gamers had been underclassmen.

However one 12 months shouldn’t be a pattern, definitely not after such an anomalous 2020 pandemic-altering season. The truth is, the most important purpose we’re seeing such high-level college football these first few weeks appears to have a lot to do with the “tremendous seniors” who acquired an additional 12 months of eligibility, and there is optimism in NFL circles that this 12 months might show a turning level from the annual pattern of dozens of underclassmen going undrafted.

That is what I’ve gathered after speaking with brokers, scouts and personnel executives across the league the final two weeks. A historic quantity of gamers with levels coupled with new NIL guidelines might result in a wanted sea change that may influence each school and professional soccer.

“The variety of underclassmen going within the high 4-5 rounds will stay largely in line with years previous, however these late-round sort guys ought to be extra more likely to keep at school,” one NFC scout informed me this week.

The Nationwide Soccer Basis studies that 1,922 gamers at 125 FBS faculties are taking part in this 12 months with their undergraduate levels already in hand. That is greater than double the 964 gamers in 2019, and it far outpaces the 835 gamers in 2018 and 721 gamers in 2017. (The NFF did not tally the numbers final season.)

The explanation for the massive quantity is apparent: the COVID-19 pandemic granted an additional 12 months of eligibility to all fall sport athletes.

These gamers with an additional 12 months underneath their belts can be flooding the draft market in just a few months, theoretically squeezing out the Day 3 underclassmen that in years previous have vied for these slots.

Till 2008, the NFL had by no means seen 50 or extra underclassmen declare for the draft in a single season. In 2014, it ballooned from 73 to 102 whereas breaking the century mark for the primary time. The quantity has stayed above 100 since 2016.

Whereas the variety of underclassmen declaring for the draft has grown through the years, the share of underclassmen going undrafted 12 months to 12 months has remained roughly the identical. Eight underclassmen went unselected within the 1996 NFL Draft, and that represented a close to an identical proportion of the group because the 37 gamers that went undrafted within the 2016 NFL Draft.

What’s regarding is the pattern we noticed earlier than the anomalous 2021 NFL Draft. Within the three drafts between 2018-2020, 41.7% of gamers with remaining eligibility who left for the draft didn’t get picked. Earlier than this 12 months’s draft, the 2019 NFL Draft set a league document for many underclassmen declaring (135), most underclassmen drafted (73) and most underclassmen undrafted (62). Forty-six % of underclassmen who declared weren’t chosen in 2019, an all-time document.

There is a warning towards discovering too many developments on this knowledge. Choices to go away with remaining eligibility are particular person choices. These gamers are influenced by a novel group of individuals round them. Certain, all of them get steerage from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, however that is about the one management group concerned within the decision-making course of. Every thing else is fluid.

“Sure,” stated an AFC scout agreeing with the thesis that there ought to be fewer undrafted underclassmen, “however in addition they fear extra about getting injured.” Staying at school for one more 12 months means being one other 12 months from getting a four-year contract within the NFL.

One potential saving grace right here is the introduction of NIL cash into the equation for underclassmen considering of constructing the soar. NIL cash is not NFL cash, however gamers who’re ok to get drafted are, in principle, ok to get some cash off their title, picture and likeness.

“Too many fringe prospects depart college early due to monetary want,” the NFC scout stated. “They screw up their long-term futures (of their long-term careers in addition to sacrificing an opportunity to get their diploma) by making short-sighted monetary choices. The NIL stuff would offer one other various.”

One agent talked me by how this might go down with a participant: the highest faculties are assembling NIL departments. They’ll pitch these fringe draft gamers on native and nationwide sponsors they’re working with or quickly will work with. It continues:

Construct your draft inventory so you are not in no man’s land. Make sufficient cash. Do good at school and get your diploma. Come again and play. It is the deepest draft ever arising and you will be extra enticing in 2022. We’ll be sure you’re coated.

It is an fascinating consideration. I definitely will not argue with a younger man deciding to forego the ultimate 12 months of school for the dream and riches of the NFL, however provided that he is aware of he’ll get drafted. Seeing the handfuls of gamers every year who make the ill-advised determination to go away college simply to go undrafted is tough, and possibly this 12 months will supply a course correction that may profit the gamers, school soccer and the NFL.

Linebackers, anybody?

I’ve heard the Green Bay Packers had been working the telephones early within the week to get some linebacker assist for his or her protection following the 38-3 drubbing by the Saints. Inexperienced Bay (clearly) did not get a lot in the way in which of assist, although, as groups who could have been prepared to half with linebackers two weeks in the past did not need to do it now that the season has begun and accidents have already taken place.

Kudos to Sirianni

 I liked what Nick Sirianni did in his first sport as head coach. Sirianni did not make the sport too tough for his second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. He gave the QB choices within the passing sport whereas not forcing him to learn each little factor the protection was doing.

“There is a couple occasions the place, ‘Hey, Jalen on this protection, on this play, I would like your eyes over right here.’ All proper, and there is a man blitzing over right here, and he felt and he went out,” Sirianni stated this week. “So, he sort of confirmed actually good instincts and good really feel.”

A few third of Hurts’ makes an attempt had been at or behind the road of scrimmage. No Week 1 quarterback had fewer accomplished air yards (3.4) or supposed air yards (3.7), and that was clearly the plan towards a nasty Falcons protection. (He was additionally deadly down the sphere as soon as he lulled Atlanta to sleep.) However that fashion will not work towards the 49ers this Sunday, and Sirianni will want Hurts to make use of his legs extra towards San Francisco. But when this can be a pattern of Sirianni tailoring the sport plan to each Hurts and the opponent, it is an encouraging signal for Eagles followers.

Nassib gross sales spike

You may recall again in June when Raiders defensive finish Carl Nassib came out as gay. Final week, he grew to become the primary publicly homosexual lively participant on an NFL roster, and on Monday night time he grew to become the primary publicly homosexual participant to play in an NFL sport.

Nassib performed on 30 defensive snaps within the time beyond regulation win towards the Ravens. And although fellow defensive finish Maxx Crosby gained AFC Defensive Participant of the Week, it was Nassib’s sack of Lamar Jackson and compelled fumble that gave the ball again to Las Vegas within the closing minutes of time beyond regulation, the place two performs later Derek Carr discovered Zay Jones for the game-winning landing.

I assumed that play — together with the final publicity he obtained being on a nationally televised sport — may give his jersey gross sales a lift. I reached out to a league spokeswoman who supplied me with NFL Store numbers.

Nassib’s jersey wasn’t within the high 200 of greatest sellers as not too long ago as August. By Monday within the buildup to the sport, he cracked the highest 100 by coming in at No. 90. On Tuesday after his efficiency within the win, his jersey was ranked at No. 69.

It took braveness for Nassib to return out this summer time, and by all accounts the Raiders franchise and the NFL neighborhood have dealt with it extraordinarily properly. His play — and never his sexual orientation — will dictate how he fares on this league transferring ahead, but it surely’s nice to see the help he has by this one metric.

The Cam Chronicles

There was not and isn’t quite a lot of curiosity in Cam Newton across the league since his launch from the Patriots. Each league supply I’ve spoken with since final Friday regarded his half-hour video together with his father as a mistake to various levels. The primary problem was that Newton himself stated his “aura” could be a “distraction.” By no means, ever name your self a distraction. Newton can also be unvaccinated, so to hitch a staff would require him testing unfavourable for 5 days earlier than he might even get within the constructing. Additionally, there was subsequent to no quarterback attrition in Week 1 for him to even discover a slot.

Lastly, and maybe most telling, the Washington Soccer Crew didn’t present a lot curiosity in signing Newton after starter Ryan Fitzpatrick was positioned on IR. Head coach Ron Rivera loves and respects Newton, however that Washington is rolling with Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen exhibits what kind of “distraction” Newton’s “aura” may very well be. And it additionally factors to the data Washington’s medical workers — a few of which had been in Carolina beforehand — has on Newton.

Saquon debuts kicks

I acquired to get an early peek at Saquon Barkley‘s new Nike Saquon Air Coach IIIs and I count on they’re going to promote out shortly once they go on sale Oct. 8. The pearl white kicks are a throwback to the outdated Bo Jackson trainers, and so they have delicate nods each to NYC (reflective detailing on the toe for development zones and two black stripes throughout the Swoosh for Barkley’s eyeblack.)

Barkley’s been a Nike athlete since leaving Penn State in 2018, and so they did proper by the Giants franchise operating again. It is arduous for a soccer participant to have a cool sneaker. We cannot title names right here, however just a few present and up to date NFLers have tried their hand — eh, foot — at this and I would not assume to place them on my ft. Barkley has the most effective soccer signature shoe that is on the market.

Week 2 picks

It could have been a nasty Week 1 for favorites but it surely was a strong one for me. Favorites went 7-9 final week however right here we went 11-5 on straight-up picks. I took the Football Team on Thursday night time, by the way in which.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

I am a Bengals staff that lastly gained a detailed sport underneath Zac Taylor and is constructing confidence. A staff the place Joe Mixon leads the league in damaged tackles after Week 1 with six. And a Cincy staff that is dealing with a Bears protection that allowed factors on six of seven drives final Sunday night time.

The choose: Bengals

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

Vic Fangio’s aggressiveness paid off final week towards the Giants when he went for, and acquired, three fourth-down conversions within the first two-and-a-half quarters. The Broncos lose Ronald Darby to IR however can merely elevate Patrick Surtain II to a beginning function. Till the Jags present their head coach realizes the season has began, I am not choosing them.

The choose: Broncos

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)

The Cardinals whooped the Titans offensive line final week and I haven’t got a lot religion in how Minnesota goes to face up towards Chandler Jones and Co. this week on the street, the place their communication struggled vs. Cincy. Mike Zimmer’s protection additionally let me down, and there is not any one on that “D” who can do a superb job at containing Kyler Murray.

The choose: Cardinals

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

The Chargers offensive line answered the bell this previous week towards an elite WFT protection by permitting simply 5 pressures and two sacks, particularly contemplating the Chargers noticed the third-highest blitz fee per drop again in Week 1. I believe Dak Prescott is on a brief checklist for MVP candidates, however his OL considerations me from a run-blocking standpoint, and so they’re beginning Terence Steele at proper sort out Sunday. Not for nothing, since 1990, groups that begin 0-2 have simply an 11.6% likelihood of constructing the playoffs.

The choose: Chargers

Different video games

Browns over Texans
Rams over Colts
Bills over Dolphins
Patriots over Jets
49ers over Eagles
Steelers over Raiders
Buccaneers over Falcons
Seahawks over Titans
Chiefs over Ravens
Packers over Lions | NFL insider pocket book: New NIL guidelines might influence circulation of underclassmen turning professional, plus Week 2 picks


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