25 College Football Juniors Who Should Think Twice Before Declaring for NFL
With the college football regular season over, it is not too soon to start talking about the upcoming NFL draft.
As always, there are going to be plenty of early entry juniors.
Some may be more ready for the draft than others, but either way, there are going to be some players who leave college a little too early.
Here are 25 players who should hang around in college one more year instead of declaring for the 2013 NFL draft.
Jordan Reed: Florida, Tight End
Jordan Reed would certainly benefit from playing in a better offense, and if he hangs around for his senior season, he just might get that chance.
So far this season he has caught 44 passes for 552 yards and three touchdowns.
He has improved each season at Florida, and if he hangs around another year he will be one of the best tight ends in the country.
Le'Veon Bell: Michigan State, Running Back
Le'Veon Bell is without question one of the best running backs in the country and will be a decent player at the next level.
What he does not have is breakaway speed. While he is certainly never going to have that, another year of seasoning at Michigan State would help.
Bell might be one of the first running backs taken in the draft, but if he hung around one more year he might have a shot to be a top-10 pick in 2014.
Cordarrelle Patterson: Tennessee, Wide Receiver
Cordarrelle Patterson has been a huge find for Tennessee this season. And the departure of Da'Rick Rogers has certainly not been as bad as most anticipated due to the emergence of Patterson.
The junior wide receiver has 778 yards with five touchdowns on 46 receptions. He has perfect size for the next level, but another year to develop—particularly if quarterback Tyler Bray comes back—would be very helpful.
Cody Hoffman: BYU, Wide Receiver
Cody Hoffman is having an excellent season for BYU and will be an excellent slot receiver in the NFL.
He is 6'4" and 215 pounds, making him an excellent target at the next level.
While he is not the fastest player in college football, he could stay around another year and work on picking up more yards after the catch.
Another year to develop his talents at BYU would be very beneficial for Hoffman.
Logan Thomas: Virginia Tech, Quarterback
Logan Thomas was a projected top-10 pick before the 2012 season began. As of right now, it is not looking so good.
The junior has the size at 6'6" and 260 pounds, but he has struggled mightily this year.
Thomas has passed for 2,783 yards with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His completion percentage is less than 53 percent.
Thomas needs to stay around another year to help get his draft status back up to where it was at this time a year ago.
Cierre Wood: Notre Dame, Running Back
Cierre Wood has been through a lot during his time at Notre Dame and has not put up the stats he expected this season, thanks to the emergence of senior Theo Riddick.
Riddick had only totaled about 300 yards in his first three seasons, but has gotten the bulk of the carries this year.
With Riddick gone in 2013, Wood will be the center of attention for the Notre Dame offense if he decides to come back.
Tyrann Mathieu: LSU, Cornerback
Tyrann Mathieu does not really have many options, so the NFL might end up being a good solution right now.
It does not look like he is going to be an every-down player; Mathieu just does not have the size and will have to settle for being a force on special teams.
But, if he could land at a college somewhere, that might be a good thing to help hone his talents.
Kenny Stills: Oklahoma, Wide Receiver
Kenny Stills has benefited immensely from quarterback Landry Jones at Oklahoma.
Next season, Jones will not be in the mix, and it will be good for Stills to hang around so he can show just how talented he is.
Stills has caught 75 passes for 892 yards with 11 touchdowns on the season. He has improved every year in the program, and that trend would likely continue in 2013.
With a good season, he would be one of the top receivers in the 2014 draft.
D.J. Fluker: Alabama, Offensive Tackle
Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker is a big man. The 6'6", 335-pound lineman is a projected second-round pick, according to CBS Sports.
He is one of many talented offensive linemen for the Crimson Tide and is also one of the best in the country.
If Fluker hangs around for one more season, it is almost a certainty that he would be a first-round selection.
Either way, he has the talent to be an NFL starter a few years down the road.
Tajh Boyd: Clemson, Quarterback
Tajh Boyd is putting up monumental numbers this year, and even in what has developed into an underwhelming class, it'd still be in Boyd's best interest to return for his senior season. There are at least five QBs who will be drafted ahead of him.
Boyd is a little undersized, but has plenty of talent to be a starter at the next level. Another year at Clemson would be a good idea.
C.J. Barnett: Ohio State, Free Safety
C.J. Barnett is a very talented safety who is another in a long line of talented Ohio State defensive backs.
Barnett has the size and is not afraid to make a tackle, but his draft status would benefit as much as any player on this list from another year in college.
Zach Ertz-Stanford, Tight End
Zach Ertz is one of the best tight ends in the country. If not for Tyler Eifert at Notre Dame, he would likely be the first one taken in the upcoming draft.
That does not mean he will be a first-round pick, however. Ertz is more likely a second-round selection. If he hangs around at Stanford another year, he would almost certainly develop into a first-round pick.
Just the latest stud tight end produced by Stanford.
Silas Redd: USC, Running Back
Silas Redd has probably not gotten the touches he thought he would since transferring from Penn State, but the junior has still had an excellent season with 817 yards and nine touchdowns on 150 carries.
He has split carries with Curtis McNeal. McNeal is a senior, and with quarterback Matt Barkley set to depart, it could be more of a run-oriented offense at SC next year. And that will certainly improve his draft status.
William Gholston: Michigan State, Defensive End
William Gholston has enormous size to play at the next level. The same was said for his cousin, Vernon, but that did not really pan out.
Gholston is likely one of the top defensive ends in the NFL draft, but there are plenty of players who are rated ahead of him right now.
He has not had quite the season he expected to have, but could improve on his numbers if he came back for his senior year.
Knile Davis: Arkansas, Running Back
Knile Davis was one of the top running backs in the country in 2010, and after missing all of 2011 with an ankle injury, he has not had the greatest 2012 campaign.
He has only totaled 377 yards on 112 carries with two touchdowns.
It might take another year for his knee to completely heal, and he should not even think about leaving early for the draft.
Stedman Bailey: West Virginia, Wide Receiver
Statistically speaking, Stedman Bailey is one of the best wide receivers in the country.
The junior has caught 106 passes for 1,501 yards and an astounding 23 touchdowns. He is very small at only 5'10", but has everything else necessary to be a good receiver.
He is extremely fast and can contribute immediately on special teams. One more year to work on his receiving game could move him up considerably in the draft.
Kevin Minter: LSU, Linebacker
Kevin Minter is one of the most talented players on an LSU defense that is one of the best in the country.
He is a tackling machine for the Tigers, and with their talented defensive ends and likely first-round picks next season, Minter would be one of the best defensive players in the country.
He would also be a lock for Round 1.
Tyler Bray: Tennessee Quarterback
Tennessee has had another disappointing year, but it did not have much to do with the play of quarterback Tyler Bray.
The junior is right now considered to be a second- or third-round selection. Another season and he would certainly have a shot to jump into the first round.
Bray has thrown 34 touchdowns this season with only 12 interceptions, and has NFL size at 6'5". It would be an excellent decision for him to return to Tennessee for one more year.
Jordan Matthews: Vanderbilt, Wide Receiver
The Vanderbilt Commodores have come on strong lately and a lot of that is due in part to the emergence of wideout Jordan Matthews.
Matthews was solid last season and this year already has 1,262 yards on 87 receptions with seven TDs.
He has tremendous size at 6'3" and 205 pounds. Another year at Vanderbilt and he would not only be one of the best receivers in the SEC but in the entire country, particularly with the development of the Commodores offense.
Keith Price: Washington, Quarterback
Keith Price excelled last season and there is no question that his draft status was higher a year ago at this time than it is right now.
So far in 2012, he has struggled, passing for only 2,486 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That is a drop of 15 touchdowns from the previous year.
Another season at Washington more similar to what he did as a sophomore will help Price out a lot.
Jelani Jenkins: Florida, Linebacker
Jelani Jenkins is without question one of the best outside linebackers in the country.
He has helped anchor a Florida defense that is one of the best in the FBS, but has missed five games this season with injury and will miss the Sugar Bowl after surgery on his right foot.
With so little action under his belt, coming back for his senior campaign might be a good idea.
If he can stay healthy, Jenkins will be one of the top linebackers in the 2014 draft.
Marquess Wilson: Washington State, Wide Receiver
Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson is not only one of the best receivers in the country, but also one of the best players in the entire nation.
With three games remaining, he left the Washington State football program due to an untenable situation with the coaching staff and will almost certainly enter the NFL draft.
Wilson does not have many other options, but finding a place to go for a year might help him mature a little bit both on and off the field.
Da'Rick Rogers: Tennessee Tech, Wide Receiver
After transferring from Tennessee, wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers is now starring at Tennessee Tech and has had another remarkable year. Rogers has 78 catches for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Rogers is very talented and he might need another year to continue to mature before he is ready for the next level.
Dion Sims: Michigan State, Tight End
Dion Sims is a very talented tight end who has emerged this season as one of the most dynamic in the country.
The junior has totaled 451 yards on 33 receptions with two touchdowns, and another year in the program with better quarterback play will greatly benefit Sims.
He has that combination of size and speed that will help him excel in the pros if he can continue to develop his talents.
Aaron Murray: Georgia, Quarterback
Aaron Murray seems like he has already been at Georgia forever, but he is only a junior.
There is plenty of talent around him, but for some reason, Murray does not perform well against talented defenses.
The quarterback has struggled at times in big games, and, without prototypical size, staying around in Athens for one more year could help him fix that problem.
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