The 2021 NFL draft order is set, all college pro days are scheduled, and now all we have to do is wait for the big night. There are a good number of underclassmen in this year's draft. The three top quarterbacks in this draft are underclassmen.
With the results of underclassmen in the 2021 NFL draft, it brings the question of how does a player declare for the NFL draft?
What are the guidelines to declare for the NFL draft?
When it comes to declaring for the NFL draft, there are steps that need to be completed before an athlete can declare for the draft. In order for a player to be eligible for the NFL draft, they must be out of high school for at least three years.
Another way to declare is to use up all of the players' college football eligibility before the next season starts. If a college athlete is an underclassman and graduates early, they can fill out a request to the NFL to enter the draft early. College athletes are only eligible for the NFL draft once they end their current college football season.
The next step is for the NFL's player personnel staff to confirm all draft prospects to make sure they are eligible. This is not an easy task. The personnel will need to research 3,000 college athletes per year.
NFL player personnel also have to work side-by-side with the NCAA to make sure that all the information presented to them before the draft is accurate. At the Senior Bowl, the NFL checks the rosters of both teams to make sure only draft eligible players are playing. NFL player personnel also have to check applications for athletes that are entering the draft early.
Underclassmen have seven days to declare for the NFL draft. Those seven days are after the completion of the NCAA national championship game. Before the underclassmen are completely eligible, NFL player personnel will work with teams, agents, and schools to make sure they are accurate.
The NFL's player personnel work does not end there, and they must work with teams, schools, and agents to make sure the pro days are running correctly. As the draft moves along, the player personnel confirm that all players who are drafted are draft-eligible as well. Once all this is done and the draft is over, NFL player personnel will regroup and get ready for next season.