NFL Draft 2013: Tracking College Football Underclassmen Declaring Early

Ian BergCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2013

NFL Draft 2013: Tracking College Football Underclassmen Declaring Early

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    A number of highly regarded underclassmen are making the decision to declare early for the 2013 NFL draft that will come this April. 

    This will be the underclassmen draft tracker for the 2013 NFL draft, keeping up-to-date info on each declaration as it comes in. 

    There have been a few surprises, but most of the guys that have said they are in the draft were expected. Tyler Bray shocked the SEC by leaving early, but Keenan Allen and Robert Woods were expected. 

    Taking a look at the possible early draft class, here is the breakdown for each player and their projected round. 

Ace Sanders: WR, South Carolina, 5’8”, 175 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Ace Sanders was one of the nastiest open field runners in the SEC before he announced his departure for the NFL on the final day of declaration, January 15.

    He didn’t give a ton of clarity to the situation, only tweeting vaguely about the move “to the real world” and retweeteing former teammate Stephon Gilmore’s welcome to the league message according to College Football Talk.

    Sanders was expected to return to Columbia for his senior year, and he likely should have stayed. He left to hit the pros like every other junior, but this is a loaded receiver class and he isn’t the only niche receiver in the group.  

    Right Decision: No                  

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

DeAndre Hopkins: WR, Clemson, 6’1”, 200 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Hopkins would be a rising senior if he decided to stick around for the 2013 season. Instead he decided to enter the NFL draft after an 82 catch, 1,405 yard performance in 2012.

    Hopkins stepped into the main receiver role this season after Sammy Watkins was suspended for some games to start the year. Hopkins should be one of the first receivers taken in the coming draft.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Eddie Lacy: RB, Alabama, 6’1”, 220 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Eddie Lacy was the leader of the Crimson Tide backfield this fall after serving in a reserve capacity for the past two seasons.

    Entering the draft early was a decision that could have gone both ways for Lacy. As carries increase for T.J. Yeldon this coming fall, Lacy’s production would fall. On the other side, he has only had one season of tandem production.

    The time was now to leave for Lacy, but his stock will not be as high as the last two backs out of Alabama.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

D.J. Fluker: OL, Alabama, 6’6”, 335 lbs.

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     Why did he declare: Alabama has put out a number of talented offensive linemen in the past, but D.J. Fluker may be one of the best ever to wear crimson and white. He is a specimen at offensive tackle, and will likely be a first round selection.

    As a rookie he could provide assistance to an offensive line looking for a future at right tackle. This will be an easy decision for a team looking for a future pro-bowl type body on the offensive line.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Zach Ertz: TE, Stanford, 6’6”, 252 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Zach Ertz was considered to be one of the top three tight ends during the 2012 season. He was able to help the Cardinal offense find steady production despite searching for a starting quarterback all season.

    Ertz finished the year with three games over 100 yards receiving, and caught a touchdown in six games for Stanford. He lost out to Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame for the Mackey Award at years end.

    Look for Ertz to be an early contributor and early round selection.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Chris Faulk: OL, LSU, 6’5”, 323 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Chris Faulk declared for the NFL draft after spending the entire season—save the season opener—on the sideline after he sustained a knee injury. He was a rising senior, but instead decided to head to the pros.

    Despite the injury CBSSports.com still has him projected as a second or third round pick. He is a physical specimen, but will have a lot of questions surrounding his injury prior to draft day. Expect that to be the factor that keeps him in the third or fourth round.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Justin Pugh: OT, Syracuse, 6’5”, 298 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Justin Pugh has been  a consistent starter for the Syracuse Orange over the past few seasons, earning all-Big East honors two years in a row.

    Pugh is entering a deep draft class of offensive linemen, but the 300-pounder has an edge over most of the field. Look for Pugh to fall off the board early as teams are looking for anchors to step in and play right away.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Nickell Robey: CB, Southern California, 5’8”, 165 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Robey has been a starter for the USC Trojans for three years. He has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the draft.

    He is far from a physical specimen—he is 5’8”, 165—but he is a tenacious hitter and ball-hawk. He will be a late round pickup, making him one of the steals in this draft class.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Kwame Geathers: DT, Georgia, 6’5”, 355 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Geathers was a reserve nose guard for the Bulldogs this fall starting four games—playing in all 12—for Georgia this fall. He is a physical specimen that will fit any 3-4 scheme perfectly at the next level.

    Geathers was a surprising departure, but his stock should be high enough to see him land a mid-round selection. This season was his most productive for the Bulldogs as he mounted 40 of his 61 career tackles in 2012.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Tyler Eifert: TE, Notre Dame, 6’5”, 249

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    Why did he declare: Tyler Eifert was the leading target for the Irish passing game this past fall, and his efforts helped Notre Dame land in the national title game. He finished the year as the Mackey Award winner.

    Eifert could have returned and been the best tight end in college in 2013, or he could leave and become a star in the NFL this fall. He decided to jump to the pros after the drubbing the Irish took in Miami.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Tom Wort: ILB, Oklahoma, 6’0”, 238 Lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Tom Wort caught a number of people by surprise when he declared for the draft early. He was a three year starter for the Sooners, but saw his playing time greatly reduced with the new secondary heavy defense implemented in Norman to battle the Big 12 passing offense.

    The writing was on the wall as his role would continue to be limited if he returned for his senior season, but the choice to leave early still caught the Sooner faithful off guard. Wort may finish as a free agent.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Seventh Round

Cierre Wood: RB, Notre Dame, 6’1”, 215 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Cierre Wood declared for the NFL draft on January 14. He was expected to head to the NFL after this year, but nothing was confirmed until the day before the cutoff for early declarations.

    Wood is projected as a mid-rounder which makes him a major bargain for the team that is grabbing his services. Wood will be a solid second or third option in the backfield of a run dominant team.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Darrington Sentimore: DT, Tennessee, 6’2”, 288 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Sentimore finished his junior season with the Vols with nine starts, four sacks and 18 tackles under his belt. He was able to help the Tennessee defense this fall, but he won’t be helping a pro team anytime soon.

    Sentimore needed another year, but he decided to jump to the pros after this season. Look for teams to be wary of the pickup considering his lack of impact for the Volunteers this fall.

    All signs point to undrafted free agent for Sentimore.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Undrafted Free Agent

Steve Williams: CB, California, 5’10”, 185

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    Why did he declare: Steve Williams is one of the toughest corner prospects in this draft. He finishes his three year career with the Bears with 150 total tackles and six interceptions.

    He has average size, but he plays inches above his limits. Look for Williams to be a late pickup in the draft as teams are looking for solid support on islands against the league’s premier receivers for a deal price.

    His coverage skills are needed immediately by a number of teams.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Dee Milliner: DB, Alabama, 6’1”, 199 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Milliner finished the 2012 season as one of the elite cover corners in the college game. He mixes elite size with play recognition that is tough to beat. Milliner seems to know the ball path before it is released from the quarterback.

    Look for him to be a high draft choice as lengthy corners with Milliner’s quickness are tough to find. He will be an immediate solution for a team’s secondary depth after April.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Mike Edwards: CB, Hawaii, 5’10”, 180 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Mike Edwards is a strong player coming out of Hawaii, but his draft stock is a bit low because of his lack of exposure. Edwards is one of the steals waiting to happen in this draft.

    He will be a late round selection, but he has all the skills that teams are looking for to land him on a roster and hear his name called in New York this April.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Terrance Brown: CB, Stanford, 6’1”, 178

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    Why did he declare: Brown has been a two year starter for Stanford and finished the 2012 season as a redshirt junior. He spent four seasons at Stanford, competing for three of those on defense and on special teams.

    There are not a lot of lengthy corners in the draft this year, so he fits a unique role entering the draft. Of the early enrollees, Therold Simon of LSU is his biggest threat in the race to be picked on draft day.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Joe Kruger: DE, Utah, 6’7”, 280 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Joe Kruger played in 37 games—starting 14—during his tenure with Utah. He was a force for the Utes this fall, leading the team in sacks with six at seasons end.

    Kruger is a lengthy lineman that plays with his hands and keeps leverage on nearly every play. He is quick off the edge, and his size will draw in an NFL teams curiosity.

    It only takes one team to become fascinated, and it should happen this offseason. Kruger will jump into the draft much sooner than most expect or project. His skill set is needed by too many teams for it not to happen.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Michael Ford: RB, LSU, 5’10”, 215

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    Why did he declare: Michael Ford was limited this year in his carries as LSU had one of the most crowded backfields in college football. Now the Tigers have lost Ford and Spencer Ware to the draft, clearing room, but making Ford’s leaving questionable.

    Ford did not have a strong year in 2012 as he only rushed for 392 yards and three touchdowns. He was fourth on a depth chart of four running backs. Staying back a year would have helped his game, and likely raised his draft stock.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

William Gholston: DE, Michigan State, 6’7”, 278

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    Why did he declare: Gholston is one of the best defenders in the country and has made the wise choice to move on to the next level. He was a three year letterman for the Spartans and finished with 142 total tackles from the defensive line.

    He has the size to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, or inside in a 4-3. He will find a role in a defense early, and will likely be drafted in the first day because of his unique blend of size and speed.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Jelani Jenkins: LB, Florida, 6’0”, 237

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    Why did he declare: Jelani Jenkins had a rough year for Florida this season thanks to constant injuries, but he was able to play in seven games this fall. He pushed through his injuries and played at times when he shouldn’t, but that helped his draft stock.

    NFL teams want to see tenacity in players, and Jenkins has it. Declaring early was likely a decision that stemmed from his injury riddled junior season. Move on now and hopefully avoid further injuries during his collegiate career.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Kyle Padron: QB, Eastern Washington, 6’4”, 220 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Why Kyle Padron declared for the NFL draft is anyone’s guess. The one-time SMU transfer finished the 2012 season with modest numbers for the Eagles.

    He is  moving on to jump start his career, and with the competition at quarterback for the 2013 draft not being very strong it may be the right move down the road. Right now it looks like the wrong one.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Seventh Round

Tony Jefferson: S, Oklahoma, 5’11”, 212

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    Why did he declare: Tony Jefferson was a stud for the Oklahoma defense from the safety position this fall. He had 10 plus tackles in seven games this fall, and finished with 14 stops on two occasions.

    Jefferson is a head hunter that loves to patrol the middle of the field. He will fit in well with defenses that leave safeties on islands in zone coverage. Look for him to fit with a team early, and make early moves as a rookie in 2013.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Jawan Jamison: RB, Rutgers, 5’8”, 200 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: The 2013 draft is saturated with early departing running backs as well as a stock of seniors that will depart for the pros. Jamison is throwing his hat in the ring for the draft to join the others, but it may not be the best move.

    Jamison was only two years into his starting role with the Scarlet Knights, and he wasn’t anywhere near barn-burning with his stats. He only rushed for four touchdowns throughout the entire 2012 season.

    He is a great pass catcher from the backfield helping his draft stock, but the loaded talent pool will knock him down to the later rounds.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Undrafted Free Agent

Brandon Moore: DT, Texas, 6’5”, 322 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Why Moore declared is a great question. He was limited this fall for Texas, only recording tackles in six games this fall.

    He was a JUCO transfer to Texas where he earned five starts in 12 games there. His decision to leave is a peculiar one to say the least. He will finish undrafted.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Undrafted Free Agent

Brandon Kaufman: WR, Eastern Washington, 6’5”, 215 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Kaufman has put together the best career of any receiver at Eastern Washington with record setting performances layered throughout his career.

    He was the featured receiver in the Eagles spread offense, catching 221 passes for 3,731 yards in his time with the program. He has great size, but the level of competition he has faced has been suspect.

    Kaufman will be a late round pickup for a team looking for a bargain on the final draft day.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Seventh Round

Stansly Maponga: DE, TCU, 6’2”, 265 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Despite being limited with injuries this fall, Stansly Maponga was able to earn first team All-Big 12 honors in 2012 after putting together only eight starts. He was a star for the TCU defense, and will be a big pickup on draft day.

    Maponga has great downhill speed, and is a talented end against the run and pass. He should be a mid-round selection.

    According to College Football Talk Maponga declared on January 15.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Bennie Logan: DT, LSU, 6’3”, 295

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    Why did he declare: Bennie Logan is one of the many defections from Baton Rouge this spring for the NFL draft, and after his strong season it comes as no surprise. Logan was a consistent threat on the inside for the LSU defense, plugging holes and registering multiple tackles in 10 games this year.

    He will be a solid pickup for a number of teams, but I don’t expect that he will go in the first day. Logan is a good talent, but it will take a few years before he makes a solid contribution in the pros.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Jordan Reed: TE, Florida, 6’3”, 243 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Jordan Reed is not the prototypical tight end. Reed has been clutch in the offensive transformation that has gone down at Florida over the past few years.

    Reed caught 45 passes for 559 yards last fall, and is a solid perimeter blocker for the Gators ground game. Reed is athletic enough to play in any offensive scheme in the NFL. He will be an immediate contributor for a team this fall.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Kenny Stills: WR, Oklahoma, 6’1”, 190 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Kenny Stills exploded onto the scene for the Sooners in 2010 as a freshman, marking up the turf with his sharp cuts and explosive plays.

    He has been a steady touchdown threat for three seasons at Oklahoma, becoming the go-to receiver for Landry Jones this fall. Stills is very talented, but he has issues with consistency.

    He will be one of the first receivers off of the docket on draft day.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Barkevious Mingo: DE, LSU, 6’5”, 240

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    Why did he declare: Mingo is a freakishly athletic defensive end that has a bright future ahead at the professional level. Mingo has become a premier pass-rusher in the LSU defense, and may shift to outside linebacker in the NFL.

    He has the talent to step into a system and start from day one. He is talented enough to make that type of a difference. He will be a late first day pickup, but it will be a steal for the team that lands his services.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Menelik Watson: OL, Florida State, 6’6”, 320 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Menelik Watson is one of the best offensive linemen that is entering the 2013 NFL draft. His stock has increased over the past few weeks with his strong BCS performance capping off his career.

    Watson played in 12 games for the Seminoles, and has only played in a total of 20 football games since arriving in the states from England. He is a unique prospect that lacks a lot of experience, but that could be a positive as his legs and body have taken less of a beating over the years.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Cordarrelle Patterson: WR, Tennessee, 6’3”, 205

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    Why did he declare: Patterson spent one season with the Volunteers and was an instant game changer for the Tennessee program. He caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns, and also added 25 rushes for 308 yards and three touchdowns to his stat sheet.

    He also served the Vols as the return man on punts and kickoffs, doing quite well in both capacities. Patterson should go in the first day as his talents are apparent and a number of teams need playmakers at receiver.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

David Bakhtiari: OL, Colorado, 6’4”, 295 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Bakhtiari is known for his nasty streak in the trenches in the Pac-12, and despite the woes of the Buffaloes this year he is headed to the NFL draft.

    Bakhtiari has started on the offensive line since his true freshman season, and has become a premier player at left tackle for the Buffs. He is an experienced player with the tenacity that NFL teams are looking for in their linemen.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Luke Joeckel: OT, Texas A&M, 6’6”, 310

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    Why did he declare: Luke Joeckel was a three year starter for the Aggies at the left tackle position. He helped guard the blind side of Johnny Manziel this year, and cleared the way for Johnny Football to win the Heisman Trophy.

    He has been a major leader along the offensive front for the Aggies and his departure will leave a large hole in the Aggies offensive line. Look for Joeckel to be a Top 10 pick.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Dion Sims: TE, Michigan State, 6’5”, 285 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Dion Sims was a major player in the Michigan State offense this fall catching 36 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns. Sims will now take his talents to the NFL after his strong junior campaign.

    This past year was his best season for production. He caught multiple passes in eight games and helped make Le’Veon Bell a household name by clearing rushing lanes.

    The tight end position is another group that may be oversaturated in this draft. Sims is one of the best, but he still will land in the later rounds.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Sam Montgomery: DE, LSU, 6’5”, 260

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    Why did he declare: Sam Montgomery has been a three year contributor for the LSU Tigers along the defensive line. He has been an unstoppable force from the outside as he has an unmatched mix of speed, strength and size.

    He will be a huge pickup for a team in the mid-rounds. He will be a steal for whatever team is able to ink a deal with him.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Levine Toilolo: TE, Stanford, 6’8”, 265 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Toilolo was a quiet contributor for the Stanford offense this past year, catching 24 passes for 393 yards behind starter Zach Ertz.

    Toilolo has the size to outreach any defender, and he has been a major role player in the Cardinal offense for two years. Toilolo is one of the best tight ends in this draft class, and should jump higher than most expect.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Spencer Ware: RB, LSU, 5’11”, 223

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    Why did he declare: The 2013 NFL draft class is light on running back talent and Spencer Ware likely saw that as his entrance opportunity.

    Ware has been a strong part of the LSU offense over the past few seasons, but he was limited this year on the ground, making more of an impact in the passing game.

    The LSU backfield is stacked with talent, and there is no guarantee that Ware would step back into playing time next year. He has the chance to exit now and move into the draft without another year of mediocre production.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Gavin Escobar: TE, San Diego State, 6’6”, 255 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: San Diego State has been on a surprising tear over the past few seasons and Escobar has been a major player in the success. Escobar has 122 catches for 1,646 yards in his time with the Aztecs.

    Escobar enters the draft with a number of other tight ends, and is not the premier name heading into April. He will likely be the sleeper tight end in the group, landing in the late rounds and making a huge impact from day one with his new team.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fifth Round

Jarvis Jones: OLB, Georgia, 6’3”, 241

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    Why did he declare: Jones has been on top of the leader board for defensive statistics for the past few seasons. He constantly plays in opponents backfields and is among the country’s elite in tackles for loss.

    There are few players that are NFL ready at the linebacker position from day one, but Jones is one of them. He is a unique defender that can shed blocks well, and turn it up against the run on the inside of the box.

    Expect Jones to go in the first round.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Eric Reid: S, LSU, 6’2”, 208

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    Why did he declare: Eric Reid has been a staple in the LSU secondary since his freshman season. He is one of five Tigers that have declared early for the draft this year.

    There is a layer of talent that continues to reload in Baton Rouge and Reid saw his time to split to the NFL as now. He could have played a final season at LSU, but he has accomplished everything that he needs to at LSU.

    He will be a first day selection making his decision worth it.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Tharold Simon: CB, LSU, 6’3”, 187

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    Why did he declare: Tharold Simon was one of the most consistent defenders on the LSU squad this fall. He was able to step into a starting cornerback role and play well from day one, earning at least two or more tackles in all but one game this fall.

    He has decided to forgo his senior season to enter the draft. With the talent that returns for LSU it won’t hurt the Tigers, and he would likely be limited with snaps.

    He made the right decision moving onto the draft and landing in the pros a year earlier than expected.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round 

Brad Wing: P, LSU, 6’2”, 197

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    Why did he declare: Wing has been consistently among the best punters in the country for the past two years. He has also been one of the most suspended special teams players in the country over the past two seasons.

    He has character issues that will cause any team to worry—especially when considering a punter—but he has the talent to come to the league and stay for a while. His power and accuracy are unmatched and will make him a great free agent pickup.

    Right Decision: Yes 

    Draft Projection: Undrafted Free Agent

Travis Frederick: C, Wisconsin, 6’4”, 338

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    Why did he declare: Frederick is one of the best centers in the country heading into the 2013 NFL draft. It is hard to find guys that transition from college to the pros at center well, with Frederick carrying that ability.

    He will be a steal for any team that is able to land him. Look for Frederick to be a surprise pickup in the early rounds of the draft.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Tyrann Mathieu: CB, LSU, 5'9", 175 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Mathieu’s career at LSU was riddled with controversy and All-American level play. Mathieu was dismissed before the 2012 season for violation of team rules, attended rehab for a short time and returned to school

    The hope was that he would be able to come back in 2013. Another arrest sealed his fate and Mathieu was forced to enter the draft. He may be early, but he will be a steal for a team looking for a nickelback and return man. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Tyler Bray: QB, Tennessee, 6'5", 215 Lbs

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    Why did he declare: Tyler Bray was expected to declare for the draft after this year before the season began. Even a mediocre season—which is what he gave Volunteers fans—would be enough to help him leave. 

    With a limited draft class at the quarterback position, Bray has the chance to be one of the first taken at the position in the draft this April. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Giovani Bernard: RB, North Carolina, 5'9", 205 lbs

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    Why did he declare: When asked why he declared early for the NFL draft, Bernard told reporters "I think it was more so that I wanted to move on to the next step in life and fulfill a dream."

    Bernard has the chance after an All-American season to jump into the pros and make a living and fulfill a dream. He had a great year for the Tar Heels and helped them achieve an eight-win season in Larry Fedora’s first season.

    ESPN.com lists Bernard as the No. 1 running back in the country. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Eddie Lacy: RB, Alabama, 6'1", 220 lbs

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    Why did he declare: The second or third round will be calling for Lacy in April, and that was enough to get him moving on to the next level. He would be a tandem style back for another year at Alabama with T.J. Yeldon if he would have stayed and it wouldn’t have helped his stock much. 

    Lacy is not the best running back to come out of Alabama in the past few seasons, but he is talented enough to work on an NFL roster and provide a great change-of-pace-type option. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Marcus Lattimore: RB, South Carolina, 6'0", 220 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Marcus Lattimore faced a tough decision. He could either remain at South Carolina and hope to rehab and return, or he could bounce to the NFL draft and move into the pros a year early. 

    Lattimore chose to take his chances with the draft and the process of rehab that he will be given there. He will be picked up, but his landing place on the draft board is very unclear.

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Third Round

Knile Davis: RB, Arkansas, 6'0", 226 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Knile Davis came off of a terrible ankle injury this fall and never got back to full speed for the Razorbacks. Nothing seemed to go right for the Arkansas offense, so his lack of success is tough to attribute just to him. 

    Bouncing back from multiple injuries in his career, it appears he wanted to make the leap before the chance ran out. 

    He did have an issue with fumbles this year which kept him off the field with any regularity. Davis is a talented player, but whether he can get back to pre-injury form remains a question. 

    Another year at Arkansas could have helped him. 

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Sixth Round

Trabis Ward: RB, Tennessee State, 5'10", 200 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Trabis Ward is a borderline player whose declaration was a bit of a surprise. After redshirting last season due to academic issues, Ward took to the field this season, scoring 15 touchdowns and rushing for 1,422 yards. 

    Ward chose to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the draft, a decision that was not the most well thought out. 

    He is not one of the premier backs in this class and will likely end up as a free-agent signing. This is the most questionable early departure of the year. 

    Discipline questions will be a concern. 

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Undrafted Free Agent

Keenan Allen: WR, California, 6'3", 210 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Any time a player is a projected first-round selection they are typically told to bolt for the pros. Allen is projected to be the first receiver off the board.

    Allen is a talented receiver that CBSSports.com rates as the No. 1 receiver in the draft and the No. 15 overall prospect.

    A number of teams need playmakers at receiver and Allen could step in immediately and make a difference.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Robert Woods: WR, USC, 6'1", 190 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Robert Woods has left a massive mark on the USC Trojans record books as he departs a year early for the NFL draft. 

    It comes as no surprise after this season saw his role with the offense shared with rising star Marqise Lee. Lee finished as the Trojans' leading receiver while Woods finished second. 

    Woods told the media that "It was a hard decision, but I feel like this was the best decision for me."

    The rise of Lee may have had a little to do with the move, but overall Woods' future is best served in the pros now. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Justin Hunter: WR, Tennessee, 6'4", 200 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Justin Hunter was one of the better receivers in the country this year. He was able to put together a strong season for the Volunteers, catching 73 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. 

    He was expected to leave Tennessee after this season, but he could have used another year to work on his ball skills. He had some critical drops in 2012 that shouldn’t have happened. 

    He is still a top pick from the position despite the questions surrounding his consistency. 

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Da'Rick Rogers: WR, Tennessee Tech, 6'3", 206 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Da’Rick Rogers was an elite SEC receiver before failed drug tests forced Tennessee to drop him from the roster following the 2011 season. 

    Rogers went to Tennessee Tech for his junior year and after 61 catches for 893 yards he is entering the NFL draft. Rogers has had issues his entire collegiate career, so him jumping to the NFL is no surprise. 

    Is he NFL ready? 

    That is the looming question that will haunt him as he enters the draft. Whether or not he can stay out of trouble will also be a focus. 

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Stedman Bailey: WR, West Virginia, 5'10", 188 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Bailey is one of the most electric players that will enter the 2013 NFL draft. He was a major piece of the West Virginia offense and without him on the field the Mountaineers will struggle on offense next season.

    Bailey doesn’t have prototypical size for a rangy receiver in the NFL, but he has the speed and playmaking ability to step into any pro offense and make a difference. 

    This will be a great pick for any team looking for another speed back or slot receiver threat. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

D.J. Fluker: OT, Alabama, 6'6", 335 lbs

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    Why did he declare: There is no better time than now for Fluker to depart from Alabama. The large and rangy offensive tackle has done a great job as a starter for the Tide and is projected to be one of the first offensive linemen off the board. 

    Fluker has the talent to make it in the first round, but there is a chance that he will fall into the second round before he is selected. Either way, it was the right move for him to depart the Capstone and take his talents to the pros. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Alvin Bailey: OG, Arkansas, 6'5", 315 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Bailey is considered to be one of the top 10 guards entering the NFL draft this year, setting him up for a lot of success at the next level. 

    He started 38 games in his career with Arkansas and after the third coaching change in his career decided to jump to the NFL. 

    Bailey will not be a high round pick, but he will land somewhere in the middle rounds. For Bailey, it appears to be the right move. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Fourth Round

Damontre Moore: DE, Texas A&M, 6'4", 250 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Moore is expected to be a first-round selection this April after his strong junior season with the Texas A&M Aggies. He was a major player along the defensive front for the Aggies and finishes his career as one of the best defensive ends to play in College Station. 

    Moore released a statement announcing his decision to leave, saying "It's always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL, but I've loved my time representing the 12th Man and with my teammates at Texas A&M. Wherever I go, I will always be an Aggie at heart."

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Brandon Jenkins: DE, Florida State, 6'3", 260 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Brandon Jenkins made his decision known to enter the NFL draft with the simple phrase “I think it’s time.” He has put together a strong career for the Noles and was a senior leader on this squad before a foot injury prematurely ended his year. 

    He could have applied for a medical hardship waiver for an additional year of eligibility, but he instead has decided to move to the NFL.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Johnathan Hankins: DT, Ohio State, 6'3", 320 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Again, when a player is projected as a first-round draft guy it is time to leave. 

    Johnathan Hankins sees the writing on the wall and is leaving for bigger and better things. He is expected to be a first-round pick and possibly a yop 20 selection. 

    Hankins will be missed at Ohio State, but he will soon be handling opposing offense in the NFL. 

    Right Decision: Yes 

    Draft Projection: First Round

Sheldon Richardson: DT, Missouri, 6'3", 295 Lbs

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    Why did he declare: Sheldon Richardson has nothing left to prove in Missouri. He is expected to be one of the first players called in the NFL draft, possibly landing in the top 10. 

    Missouri made the move to the SEC this year and Richardson was the only bright spot on the field for the Tigers. This was a great move for Richardson but it will hurt the Tigers as they enter their second season in the SEC. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round

Akeem Spence: DT, Illinois, 6'1", 305 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Akeem Spence was expected to declare for the draft after his junior season, but no one expected him to finish with only one sack on the year. 

    The Illini struggled all year and Spence wasn’t able to help Illinois accomplish much all season. 

    He was once thought to be a first-round pick, but he now has fallen into the second round heading into April. Sticking around for a senior season would prove nothing for the gap-filling defensive tackle. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Logan Ryan: CB, Rutgers, 6'0", 190 lbs

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    Why did he declare: Logan Ryan was a two-time All-Big East selection at cornerback and is rated as the No. 3 cornerback in the 2013 NFL draft by ESPN.com. 

    There is nothing left for Ryan to prove at the collegiate level. Ryan could be a late first-round or early second-round selection, making his departure worthwhile. 

    Ryan finished the year as a Thorpe Award finalist and second on the Rutgers team in tackles with 94. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: Second Round

Le’Veon Bell: RB, Michigan State, 6’2”, 244 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Bell was one of the premier running backs in college this past season putting together a 1,793 yards season on 382 carries. He has rushed for 25 touchdowns in the past two seasons. 

    Bell is expected to be a high round draft selection, so the choice to leave was obvious. He was quoted by SI.com saying that "As hard as it was to leave spartan nation, it was even harder to pass on such a great opportunity I have in front of me! But I love and thank spartan nation for everything! I will always be a Spartan!"

    Bell has the size to fit into a pro scheme from day one as a grinding, late down back.

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Bjorn Werner: DE, Florida State, 6’4”, 256 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Werner is widely regarded as the best defensive end that will enter the 2013 NFL draft. He has played a major role in the Florida State defense over the past two seasons and would waste a season of production by staying for a senior season. 

    Worner is listed as the No. 1 overall defensive end in the draft by CBSSports.com and he is listed as the No. 2 player overall. He should go in the first 10 picks. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 1st Round

Corey Lemonier: DE, Auburn, 6’3”, 242 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Corey Lemonier is considered an elite pass-rusher for Auburn, but he has yet to convince anyone he can stop the run. 

    Mel Kiper Jr. is high on the defensive end, but others are more tempered with their expectations for immediate production by Lemonier in the league. 

    Lemonier put together two solid seasons as a Tigers starter, but he has yet to prove that he is a complete player that is ready for the pros. He would have benefitted from an additional year at the collegiate level. 

    Right Decision: No

    Draft Projection: 4th Round

Sharrif Floyd: DT, Florida, 6’3”, 303 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Sharrif Floyd was a do-it-all middle man for the Florida defense over the past few seasons. 

    Elite defensive linemen are tough to come by even at the pro level, so when guys with the talents of Floyd come around scouts perk up and take notice. Floyd is projected to be a late first, or early second round pick. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Matt Elam: SS, Florida, 5’10”, 202 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Matt Elam is an elite strong safety that has roamed the secondary with authority for the Gators in the past few seasons. This year he brought together a strong and consistent performance likely earning a first round draft spot. 

    Elam is known for his big hits and run coverage. He has the ability to cover the slot well and stick to tight ends in the middle passing game as well. 

    This will be a solid secondary pick up for any team looking for a performer from day one. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 1st Round

Kevin Minter: LB, LSU, 6’1”, 245 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Kevin Minter had a strong season for LSU mounting 130 total tackles with five games over 10 tackles. He also had two games with over 15. 

    Minter had his second best game of the year against Clemson when he mounted 19 tackles, seven of which were solo. 

    After a strong year and amazing finish on the national stage, departure is the right move for Minter. He can walk to the podium in day one. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 1st Round

Stefphon Jefferson: RB, Nevada, 5’11”, 210 lbs.

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    Why did he declare: Stefphon Jefferson was the second leading rusher in college football this season when he finished the year with 1,883 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. Jefferson was a two year starter for the Wolfpack. 

    With only four other early declared running backs, Jefferson is making the right move. He is striking when the iron is hot in his collegiate career, and he has a great chance at being drafted before at least three of the four other early departures. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Alec Ogletree: LB, Georgia, 6’3”, 232 Lbs

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    Why did he declare: Alec Ogletree announced his decision to leave Georgia just moments after the Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska. 

    Ogletree told the media,

    It was tough for me to make the decision to actually come out, but over the break, I met with my family and met with some of the coaches and just talked to the people I needed to talk to to make the decision. I felt like it was the right decision for me to do (ESPN.com).

    He is a highly rated linebacker that Mel Kiper has as a top 20 player in the draft. 

    Right Decision: Yes

    Draft Projection: First Round