Underclassmen have until Monday to declare their intentions about the 2017 NFL draft, and as usual, there are numerous SEC players who have made their decisions. (The NFL makes the list public on January 20.)
Here’s a look at SEC players who had to decide, “Should I say or should I go?”
CB Marlon Humphrey: Humphrey is a third-year sophomore with good size (6 feet 1, 196 pounds), speed and ball skills. His dad, Bobby, was a first-round pick at running back by Denver in 1989, and Marlon is seen as a likely first-rounder, too. He will leave school early.
OT Cam Robinson: Robinson has some issues – consistency is one – but he’s a big guy with athleticism and a good upside. He’s also a three-year starter at left tackle for the nation’s top program. He’s a likely first-rounder who will enter the draft this year, but there are some off-field issues.
WR ArDarius Stewart: It seemed unlikely he would pro, as some think he’s a third-day pick. But he is turning pro. He led a deep group of Tide receivers in receiving yards and TD receptions this season, and he’s a fourth-year junior. While he lacks top-end speed, he is an extremely physical receiver.
C Frank Ragnow: Ragnow announced last month he is staying in school for his senior season.
RB Kamryn Pettway: He burst out of nowhere in 2016 and could have made the jump after good season, particularly given the nature of his nature. The redshirt sophomore announced he’ll be back again next season, though.
K Daniel Carlson: He’s one of the top two or three kickers in college football, and he’ll be back for his senior season.
DE Carl Lawson: He was injury-free for a change and had a solid season, and he surprised no one by turning pro. He has a high upside as a pass rusher, but is a bit of a ‘tweener (6-2, 253) and may move to outside linebacker. He seems like a late first-/early second-round prospect.
S Tray Matthews: He has good size (6-1, 207) and OK speed. He’s known as a big hitter and can play in the box; he says he’ll be back for his senior season.
G Braden Smith: He likely would have been one of the top 10 guards available had he come out, and that might have made him a third rounder. But he will return for his senior season, which should give him the opportunity to get bigger and stronger in hopes of becoming a future a sure-fire second-day selection.
LB Alex Anzalone: The oft-injured Anzalone, a fourth-year junior, played this season as a grad student and went through “Senior Day” activities at Florida. He made it official January 4 that he was headed to the NFL. When he’s healthy, he’s a force against the run. He has a high football IQ and flows well to the ball. His injury history gives pause, though.
DT Caleb Brantley: He wasn’t quite as dominating as expected, but he showed flashes of his immense potential, especially against LSU, where he made two game-changing plays. Brantley has a quick first step, a good base and can be a disruptive force. He could have become a more polished player, but he’s also a fourth-year junior who has chosen to turn pro. He seems likely to be a second-day selection.
OT David Sharpe: He’s a huge man (6-6, 357) with surprising athleticism; he was a star basketball player for a private-school power in Jacksonville before deciding to focus on football. He lacks consistency, but there is a definite upside. While Sharpe would’ve been best-served to remain for his senior season, he is going pro.
CB Jalen Tabor: To no surprise, he has decided to make the jump to the pros. He is a legit cover corner with good ball skills and makeup speed. Tabor likely would be considered one of the top three or four corners available, and those guys go in the first round.
CB Quincy Wilson: Wilson decided to bypass his senior season. He has good size (6-1, 211) and, as with Tabor, the skill set to be a shutdown corner. He could go in the first round; he could last until early in the second.
OLB Davin Bellamy: No surprise that Bellamy has decided to remain for his senior season. While he has a pass-rush upside, though he hasn’t been all that productive in that facet with the Bulldogs (just seven career sacks). There would’ve been NFL teams willing to bet on his upside, though it seems likely they wouldn’t have been willing to bet until the third day.
OLB Lorenzo Carter: As with Bellamy, he’s staying for his senior season. And as with Bellamy, the upside is there even if the production hasn’t been (8.5 career sacks). And as with Bellamy, there would’ve been NFL teams willing to bet on his upside, though it seems likely they wouldn’t have been willing to bet until the third day.
RB Nick Chubb: In a mild surprise, he is staying for his senior season. Running backs have only so much tread on their tires. Maybe he can answer some questions about his receiving ability as a senior; he was productive in that facet as a true freshman but basically has been non-existent in that role the past two seasons.
WR Isaiah McKenzie: Surprisingly, McKenzie is entering the draft; he announced his intention right after the Bulldogs beat TCU in the Liberty Bowl. He has value as a return man, but he was not all that productive as a receiver until this season and he is listed at just 5 feet 8.
RB Sony Michel: It seemed unlikely he would leave, and as with his teammates, he is staying for his senior season.
RB Stanley “Boom” Williams: Most running backs have only so many carries in their bodies, and Williams evidently thinks it’s time to start getting paid for his carries. He is turning pro.
S Jamal Adams: A big-hitting safety who can play in the box, has solid coverage skills and can run? That’s a nice combination. His dad, George, was a first-round pick at running back out of Kentucky by the New York Giants in 1985. Jamal seems likely to be a first-rounder as well after making it official that he will leave school early for the NFL.
WR Malachi Dupre: His potential has outweighed his production, but given LSU’s quarterback situation, that’s not his fault. He has impressive size (6-4, 195) with good speed, but isn’t a lock to go on the second day. Does he come back to try to lock down an earlier round? He seemed to indicate on Twitter that he would be coming back, but he announced Friday he was turning pro.
RB Leonard Fournette: He has announced that he would turn pro. Fournette will be a first-rounder; will he be the first running back selected or the second, behind Dalvin Cook? And how early will the backs go? There have been running backs taken in the top 10 in each of the past two drafts (Todd Gurley in 2015, Ezekiel Elliott this year).
DL Davon Godchaux: While he seemingly fits best as a tackle in a 4-3 scheme, he has played end in LSU’s 3-4 and done an admirable job. He is turning pro, and his versatility will be a selling point.
DE Charles Harris: He has announced that he was turning pro, and he is one of a number of SEC edge rushers who should go in the first round. Harris is an athletic guy who still is learning the nuances of football because he was a better basketball player in high school than he was a football player. His pass-rush upside is huge.
DE Marquis Haynes: Haynes is staying for his senior season and looks to be a lock to become the school’s career sacks leaders. He is just two sacks behind career leader Greg Hardy. (For Haynes’ sake, let’s hope that’s his only comparison to Hardy.)
WR Damore’ea Stringfellow: He is turning pro, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone. He had a solid season, though he didn’t have the breakout year that many expected. He has good size (6-2, 219), but lacks consistency; in addition, off-field issues led to a transfer to Ole Miss from Washington. He seems to be a third-day pick.
TE Hayden Hurst: He is a 23-year-old sophomore who played two seasons of minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. Hurst has good size (6-5, 250) and nice hands, and is a legit receiving threat. He has a long way to go as a blocker, though.
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