2019 NFL draft class boosted by underclassmen at skill-positions, D-line

Rob Rang

The NFL released its annual list of early entrants into the draft and predictably it set a new record.

Just don't ask the ever-image conscious league to admit it.

The NFL's official press release announced that 103 players were granted special eligibility for this spring's draft with 32 others having fulfilled their graduation requirements early.

Those 32 players, including projected first round picks like Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, technically had a year of athletic eligibility remaining.

In all, that makes it 135 players with remaining eligibility will be available for selection in the April 25-27 draft in Nashville, Tennessee - a monumental jump from the 106 last year, which also set a record.

The mass exodus guarantees a truly elite class of defensive lineman that two-time NFL general manager Scot McCloughan has called the best he's ever seen on the Instinctive Scouting Podcast.

It also significantly boosts what had been seen as a below average quarterback class with Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, Jones and Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy-winning Kyler Murray each currently projected by NFLDraftScout.com to be selected earlier than our top-rated senior, Drew Lock of Missouri.

The running back position was also enhanced with Alabama's Josh Jacobs and Texas A&M's Trayveon Williams - the only two runners to make my initial Top 50 Big Board - highlighting the crop.

The position group improved the most by Friday's announcement was clearly at wide receiver with nearly a full round of players (27) added to talent pool NFL teams can draw from.

A disproportionate number of the underclassmen who ultimately fail to be drafted after giving up their final chances at amateur eligibility likely will come from this position but so too will future playmakers like Mississippi's duo of D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown, Oklahoma speedster Marquise Brown (unrelated) and Arizona State's N'Keal Harry, among others.

The full list, including the 32 who graduated before making the jump to the NFL are listed alphabetically below.

Player Pos College

1 Rodney Anderson RB Oklahoma

2 Alex Barnes RB Kansas State

3 Ryan Bates T Penn State

4 Venzell Boulware G Miami

5 Hakeem Butler WR Iowa State

6 Xavier Crawford DB Central Michigan

7 Jamel Dean DB Auburn

8 Clelin Ferrell DE Clemson

9 Cody Ford T Oklahoma

10 Youhanna Ghaifan DT Wyoming

11 Joe Giles-Harris LB Duke

12 Penny Hart WR Georgia State

13 Tyree Jackson QB Buffalo

14 Daniel Jones QB Duke

15 Dre'Mont Jones DT Ohio State

16 Dawson Knox TE Mississippi

17 David Long LB West Virginia

18 Erik McCoy C Texas A&M

19 Jakobi Meyers WR North Carolina State

20 Anthony Nelson DE Iowa

21 Tony Pollard RB Memphis

22 Anthony Ratliff-Williams WR North Carolina

23 Dax Raymond TE Utah State

24 Quart'e Sapp LB Tennessee

25 Cortrelle Simpson WR Richmond

26 Sutton Smith DE Northern Illinois

27 Jarrett Stidham QB Auburn

28 William Sweet T North Carolina

29 Josiah Tauaefa LB Texas-San Antonio

30 Deionte Thompson DB Alabama

31 Jonah Williams T Alabama

32 Caleb Wilson TE UCLA

Each of the 103 players listed below have met the league's three-year eligibility rule and have renounced their college football eligibility by submitting written notification to the league office on or before the January 14 deadline. Consequently, they are eligible for selection:

The players granted special eligibility for the 2019 NFL Draft:

Player Pos College

1 Ed Alexander NT Louisiana State

2 Jeff Allison LB Fresno State

3 JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR Stanford

4 Mike Bell DB Fresno State

5 Amani Bledsoe DE Oklahoma

6 Nick Bosa DE Ohio State

7 Miles Boykin WR Notre Dame

8 A.J. Brown WR Mississippi

9 Marquise Brown WR Oklahoma

10 Sean Bunting DB Central Michigan

11 Brian Burns DE Florida State

12 Devin Bush LB Michigan

13 Hamp Cheevers DB Boston College

14 Damarea Crockett RB Missouri

15 Maxx Crosby DE Eastern Michigan

16 Tyrel Dodson LB Texas A&M

17 Greg Dortch WR Wake Forest

18 Clifton Duck DB Appalachian State

19 Jovon Durante WR Florida Atlantic

20 David Edwards T Wisconsin

21 Bobby Evans T Oklahoma

22 Datryan Evans TE Friends

23 Noah Fant TE Iowa

24 Jazz Ferguson WR Northwestern State, La.

25 Malik Gant DB Marshall

26 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson DB Florida

27 Rashan Gary DE Michigan

28 Zach Gentry TE Michigan

29 Kevin Givens DT Penn State

30 Jalen Guyton WR North Texas

31 Mecole Hardman WR Georgia

32 Kelvin Harmon WR North Carolina State

33 N'Keal Harry WR Arizona State

34 Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State

35 Darrell Henderson RB Memphis

36 Nate Herbig G Stanford

37 Justice Hill RB Oklahoma State

38 Trysten Hill DT Central Florida

39 T.J. Hockenson TE Iowa

40 Joshuwa Holloman RB Eastern Michigan

41 Elijah Holyfield RB Georgia

42 Travis Homer RB Miami

43 Amani Hooker DB Iowa

44 Lil'Jordan Humphrey WR Texas

45 Joe Jackson DE Miami

46 Josh Jacobs RB Alabama

47 Andre James T UCLA

48 Darryl Johnson DE North Carolina A&T

49 Diontae Johnson WR Toledo

50 Tyron Johnson WR Oklahoma State

51 Michael Jordan G Ohio State

52 Vosean Joseph LB Florida

53 Tre Lamar LB Clemson

54 Dexter Lawrence DT Clemson

55 Justin Layne DB Michigan State

56 Greg Little T Mississippi

57 David Long DB Michigan

58 Julian Love DB Notre Dame

59 Alize Mack TE Notre Dame

60 Alexander Mattison RB Boise State

61 Connor McGovern G Penn State

62 D.K. Metcalf WR Mississippi

63 Shareef Miller DE Penn State

64 Dillon Mitchell WR Oregon

65 David Montgomery RB Iowa State

66 Trayvon Mullen DB Clemson

67 Byron Murphy DB Washington

68 Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma

69 Isaac Nauta TE Georgia

70 Chidi Okeke T Tennessee State

71 Ed Oliver DT Houston

72 Jachai Polite DE Florida

73 Ryan Pulley DB Arkansas

74 Taylor Rapp DB Washington

75 Riley Ridley WR Georgia

76 Tyler Roemer T San Diego State

77 Miles Sanders RB Penn State

78 Jordan Scarlett RB Florida

79 Kendall Sheffield DB Ohio State

80 Jeffery Simmons DT Mississippi State

81 Devin Singletary RB Florida Atlantic

82 Darius Slayton WR Auburn

83 Irv Smith TE Alabama

84 Kaden Smith TE Stanford

85 Saivion Smith DB Alabama

86 Benny Snell RB Kentucky

87 Dredrick Snelson WR Central Florida

88 Jace Sternberger TE Texas A&M

89 Jawaan Taylor T Florida

90 Darwin Thompson RB Utah State

91 John Ursua WR Hawaii

92 Kahale Warring TE San Diego State

93 Mike Weber RB Ohio State

94 Antoine Wesley WR Texas Tech

95 Devin White LB Louisiana State

96 Kerrith Whyte RB Florida Atlantic

97 Greedy Williams DB Louisiana State

98 James Williams RB Washington State

99 Joejuan Williams DB Vanderbilt

100 Preston Williams WR Colorado State

101 Quinnen Williams NT Alabama

102 Trayveon Williams RB Texas A&M

103 Mack Wilson LB Alabama

The following players inquired about their draft status and are eligible for selection without the need for special eligibility:

Player Pos College

1 Sean Adesanya DE Central Michigan

2 Blessuan Austin DB Rutgers

3 Jordan Brailford DE Oklahoma State

4 Keenen Brown TE Texas State

5 Byron Cowart DE Maryland

6 D'Andre Ferby RB Western Kentucky

7 P.J. Johnson DT Arizona

8 Daniel LaCamera K Texas A&M

9 L.J. Scott RB Michigan State

The number of players granted special eligibility for the NFL Draft the past 10 years:

Year: Players Granted Special Eligibility

2019: 103

2018: 106

2017: 95

2016: 96

2015: 74

2014: 98

2013: 73

2012: 65

2011: 56

2010: 53

Meanwhile, if upperclassmen is more your thing, my fellow senior analyst Ric Serritella