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2012 NFL Mock Draft: What Would the Draft Look Like Without Early Entry?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (botom row R) poses for a photo on stage with the members of the 2011 Draft class and the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Tyler HornerCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2012

The topic of early entries has been been a sensitive one for years now, spanning all sports. In the NBA, college players are leaving to the professional level only one year removed from high school and in the MLB, players are heading to the professional level before spending a single day on a college campus. 

The NFL remains committed to its eligibility requirements and college players will have to spend three years in school to get into the pros for the foreseeable future, a rule that I wholeheartedly support. 

However, what happens if we consider the possibility of even more strict draft eligibility rules, requiring players to spend four years out of high school before heading to the NFL.

The results of each draft would be dramatically different, whether it was for the better or worse. 

Let me make it clear that this is something I do not expect to see in my lifetime barring widespread controversy regarding past players' post-football preparedness—talk about alliteration—to enter the working world without degree's. You could leave it to lawyers to bring up how the system pressures juniors to leave before getting their degree's and cause some uproar and potentially a change in the system. 

Let's explore what the first round of the NFL might look like without early entries. This means any junior or draft eligible sophomore is excluded. Trust me, the results are pretty shocking. 

1. Colts (2-14): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

2. Rams (2-14): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is tackled by defensive end Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

 

3. Vikings (3-13): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

4. Browns (4-12): Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

5. Buccaneers (4-12): Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska

6. Redskins (5-11): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

7. Jaguars (5-11): Devon Still, DT, Penn State

8. Panthers (6-10): Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

9. Dolphins (6-10): Mark Barron, S, Alabama

10. Bills (6-10): Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

11. Chiefs (7-9): Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

12. Seahawks (7-9): Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

13. Cardinals (8-8): Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

14. Cowboys (8-8): Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

15. Eagles (8-8): Audie Cole, ILB, North Carolina State

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Wide receiver Nick Toon #1 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates with teammates after catching an 18-yard touchdown in the third quarter at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

16. Jets (8-8): Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

17. Bengals (from Raiders) (8-8): Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin

18. Chargers (8-8): Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State

19. Bears (8-8): Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

20. Titans (9-7): Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska

21. Broncos (8-8): Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington

22. Bengals (9-7): Doug Martin, RB, Boise State

23. Giants (9-7): Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State

24. Texans (10-6): Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

25. Browns (from Falcons) (10-6): Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

26. Lions (10-6): Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska

27. Ravens (12-4): Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana

28. Steelers (12-4): Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall

29. Patriots (from Saints) (13-3): Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State

30. Patriots (13-3): Billy Winn, DT/DE, Boise State

31. 49ers (13-3): Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

32. Packers (15-1): Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

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