A list of officially declared underclassmen for the 2018 NFL Draft. I also offer my opinion on whether or not each prospect made a wise move by leaving school early. I will not factor financial considerations in my analysis because most players need the money.
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Height: 6-5. Weight: 250. Projected 40 Time: 4.65. Projected Round (2018): 1-2.
Charlie Campbell reported a couple of months ago that teams believe Hayden Hurst has a first-round skill set, so it's not a surprise at all to see him declare. With that in mind, Hurst is making a great decision by declaring early, especially considering that he turns 25 prior to the 2018 season. Hurst could be chosen in the opening round, but he may slide into the second frame because of the slight age concerns. Still, declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft was a no-brainer.
Grade for declaring: A+
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Height: 6-5. Weight: 332. Projected 40 Time: 5.20. Projected Round (2018): 1-3.
I wouldn't have recommended Vita Vea for declaring for the draft at the beginning of the year, but he's done a great job of pressuring quarterbacks this season, answering some of the lingering questions about him being one-dimensional. Vea should be chosen in the first round, though it's not a guarantee. Still, his stock is high, so coming out of school early is the right move.
Grade for declaring: B+
2018 NFL Draft Underclassmen Rumors:
Josh Allen is close to choosing an agent. - Tony Pauline
Mark Andrews will declare for the draft after the season. - Tony Pauline
Orlando Brown will declare for the draft after the season. - Tony Pauline
Simmie Cobbs is certain to declare for the draft. - Tony Pauline
Michael Deiter is considering declaring for the pros. - Evan Flood, Badger247
Lamar Jackson has settled on an agent. - Tony Pauline
Roquan Smith will declare for the draft after the season. - Tony Pauline
Denzel Ward is likely to enter the draft. - Tony Pauline
Major Prospects Going Back to School: Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Height: 6-7. Weight: 302. Projected 40 Time: 5.32. Projected Round (2018): 1.
Trey Adams tore his ACL, which is a shame because he was projected to be a top-10 pick beforehand. The good news is that Adams will have an entire year to rehab his knee, and he should be 100 percent by the 2019 pre-draft process. I have Adams going early in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft. Adams is making a good decision by returning to school.
Grade for returning: A
Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Height: 6-2. Weight: 214. Projected 40 Time: 4.78. Projected Round (2018): 4-6.
I never understood the concept of Will Grier declaring early for the pros. Lacking size and pro traits, Grier was never anything beyond a mid-round pick, and that was in a best-case scenario. He also has some off-the-field issues he's going to have to answer, so remaining in school was the right decision.
Grade for returning: A+
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Height: 6-0. Weight: 205. Projected 40 Time: 4.48. Projected Round (2018): 2-3.
Deebo Samuel had lots of promise heading into 2017, but managed to play only three games prior to fracturing his fibula. It was announced that he would be out for the year, prompting Samuel to say he would return to school. Samuel is making the right move, as he can rehab his draft status and perhaps be chosen in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.