The NFL stipulates that in order for a player to be eligible for the draft, he must be three years removed from his last year of high school. Even if they took a redshirt, players from the 2012 recruiting class can declare for the 2015 NFL draft if they so choose, but players from the 2013 and 2014 classes cannot.
This rule has run into some problems in the past. Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and former USC receiver Mike Williams tried to circumvent it (unsuccessfully) in 2004, and more recently, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney incited debate after dominating college football as a true sophomore in 2012.
The point being this: Every year, there are players who are ready to declare for the NFL but aren't allowed to because of their age. It's the truth. Whether that rule is fair or not is an argument for a different day; their existence, however, is undeniable.
To my mind, though, no player can be deemed NFL-ready before he's stepped on a real college football field—no matter how gifted he is physically. For purposes of this list, that means no true or redshirt freshmen have been included. LSU running back Leonard Fournette has been likened to Adrian Peterson, but I refuse to say he's ready to play against professionals before he's played in the FBS ranks.
That means this list is comprised entirely of true sophomores. These are 10 second-year players who, based on their physical profiles and freshman-year production, could probably stand to make the leap after this season and do fine. Their junior year will likely help them, of course, but it will not be absolutely vital to their draft stock.
Sound off below and let me know whom I missed.
Note: Unless otherwise cited, all recruiting info. courtesy of the 247Sports Composite.