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Mock draft: Record number of underclassmen on way

By The Sports Xchange
Mock draft: Record number of underclassmen on way
USC quarterback Sam Darnold looks to throw against Ohio State during the Cotton Bowl last month. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

The NFL granted special eligibility to a record number of underclassmen, who will flood the first round with talent.

The official number of underclassmen is 106, breaking the record of 98, set in 2014. There were 96 underclassmen eligible for the draft in 2016 and 95 last season.

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In reality, though, 123 players gave up college eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft, including 13 who earned degrees and four who didn't need special eligibility.

Beyond the record quantity, there is high quality.

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NFLDraftScout.com rates 21 of the underclassmen among the top 25 prospects in the draft, including redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 1, Penn State junior running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 and UCLA junior quarterback Josh Rosen at No. 3.

The top-rated defensive player comes next -- Alabama junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. NFLDraftScout.com tabs North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb as the best senior prospect, No. 5 overall.

LSU lost seven players with eligibility to the draft, the most of any team, including edge rusher Arden Key and running back Derrius Guice, both potential first-rounders. Florida State lost six underclassmen, as did Texas, including running back Chris Warren, who announced at the end of the season he would transfer.

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Five players from national champion Alabama departed early, with four among the top 32 prospects, according to NFLDraftScout.com: Fitzpatrick, defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne, receiver Calvin Ridley and safety Ronnie Harrison.

Here are the 106 underclassmen granted special eligibility into the NFL Draft:

1. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

2. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, DE, Toledo

3. Jaire Alexander, DB, Louisville

4. Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

5. Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas

6. Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State

7. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

8. Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest

9. Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma

10. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

11. Deontay Burnett, WR, Southern California

12. Deon Cain, WR, Clemson

13. Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida

14. Geron Christian, T, Louisville

15. Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana

16. Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech

17. Vosean Crumbie, DB, Nevada

18. J.J. Dallas, DB, Louisiana-Monroe

19. James Daniels, C, Iowa

20. Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

21. Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn

22. Michael Dickson, P, Texas

23. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

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24. DeShon Elliott, DB, Texas

25. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

26. Matt Fleming, WR, Benedictine

27. Nick Gates, T, Nebraska

28. Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee

29. Frank Ginda, LB, San Jose State

30. Rasheem Green, DT, Southern California

31. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

32. Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama

33. Quadree Henderson, WR, Pittsburgh

34. Holton Hill, DB, Texas

35. Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State

36. Jeff Holland, LB, Auburn

37. Mike Hughes, DB, Central Florida

38. Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

39. Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky

40. Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State

41. Donte Jackson, DB, LSU

42. J.C. Jackson, DB, Maryland

43. Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa

44. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

45. Derwin James, DB, Florida State

46. Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee

47. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

48. Courtel Jenkins, DT, Miami

49. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn

50. Ronald Jones, RB, Southern California

51. John Kelly, RB, Tennessee

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52. Arden Key, LB, LSU

53. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

54. Du'Vonta Lampkin, DT, Oklahoma

55. Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA

56. Chase Litton, QB, Marshall

57. Tavares Martin, WR, Washington State

58. Hercules Mata'afa, DE, Washington State

59. Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson

60. Tarvarus McFadden, DB, Florida State

61. R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami

62. Reginald McKenzie, DT, Tennessee

63. Quenton Meeks, DB, Stanford

64. Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

65. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

66. Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State

67. Nick Nelson, DB, Wisconsin

68. Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami

69. Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado

70. Dwayne Orso-Bacchus, T, Oklahoma

71. Da'Ron Payne, NT, Alabama

72. Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn

73. Eddy Pineiro, K, Florida

74. Trey Quinn, WR, Southern Methodist

75. D.J. Reed, DB, Kansas State

76. Justin Reid, DB, Stanford

77. Will Richardson, T, North Carolina State

78. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

79. Austin Roberts, TE, UCLA

80. Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Mississippi

81. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

82. Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama

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83. Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford

84. Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech

85. Andre Smith, LB, North Carolina

86. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

87. Van Smith, DB, Clemson

88. Breeland Speaks, DE, Mississippi

89. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

90. Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

91. Auden Tate, WR, Florida State

92. Maea Teuhema, T, Southeastern Louisiana

93. Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia

94. Kevin Toliver, DB, LSU

95. Travonte Valentine, NT, LSU

96. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

97. Vita Vea, NT, Washington

98. Mark Walton, RB, Miami

99. Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State

100. Chris Warren, RB, Texas

101. Toby Weathersby, T, LSU

102. Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pittsburgh

103. JoJo Wicker, DT, Arizona State

104. Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State

105. Connor Williams, T, Texas

106. Eddy Wilson, DT, Purdue

The following 13 players notified the league office they have fulfilled degree requirements. They are eligible for selection:

1. Jordan Akins, TE, Central Florida

2. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

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3. Kyle Allen, QB, Houston

4. Will Clapp, C, LSU

5. Terrell Edmunds, DB, Virginia Tech

6. Taylor Hearn, G, Clemson

7. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

8. Sam Jones, G, Arizona State

9. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

10. Brian O'Neill, T, Pittsburgh

11. Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State

12. Tre'Quan Smith, WR, Central Florida

13. Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist

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

1. Juante Baldwin, DB, Pittsburg State

2. Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska

3. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford

4. Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas State

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