Today, Monday, January 15, 2018 is the deadline for collegiate underclassmen to submit their requests to the NFL for inclusion into the 2018 NFL Draft.
The NFL reviews each request and determines if the applicant is eligible as an early entrant. They then assemble a list of accepted early entry prospects and forward those results to each of the 32 NFL franchises on Friday, January 19th.
Knowing which prospects are available to be drafted is only a first step for teams looking to improve their rosters. Now they can home in on which prospects may fit their offensive or defensive schemes. They can dive into the minutia of not only their play and personalities but also investigate their past for insight into whether they are worthy of the time, money, and draft capital they have to invest to bring them in and have them become productive players.
As the official list of early entrants becomes public knowledge, fans are finally able to look into the future and project which prospects may be available at each of their favorite team’s draft picks. Sports outlets will come alive with mock drafts that will have prospects in a constant state of flux as the pre-draft process travels its course.
In the coming weeks, there are several key events that loom large in how draft prospects are evaluated. Here is a chronology of some of the more noted events used by NFL coaches and scouts help set their draft boards.
· East West Shrine Game - (January 20th @ 3:00pm/est) St. Petersburg, FL - NFL Network
· NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Game - (January 20th @ 4:15pm/est) Pasadena, CA - FoxSports1
· Reese’s Senior Bowl Game - (January 27th @ 2:30pm/est) Mobile, AL - NFL Network
· NFL Scouting Combine (February 27th - March 5th) Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
o March 2nd - Group On-field Trials (RB/OL/PK/ST) NFL Network
o March 3rd - Group On-field Trials (QB/WR/TE) NFL Network
o March 4th - Group On-field Trials (DL/LB) NFL Network
o March 5th - Group On-field Trials (DLB) NFL Network
This all culminates with the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The draft will be held over the three day period of April 26th thru 28th. Coverage will be on NFL Network with the first round on Thursday, April 26th, second and third rounds on Friday, April 27th, and fourth through seventh rounds closing the show on Saturday, April 28th.
I always enjoy this time of year and I hope you do too.