Monday was the deadline for underclassmen to declare their intentions about the 2018 NFL draft, and most of the SEC underclassmen who were thought to be leaning toward entering the draft did so.
The NFL will release the official underclassman list January 19; the first round is April 26.
Here’s a look at all the SEC underclassmen who had to decide, “Should I say or should I go?”
DE Isaiah Buggs: Buggs, who was a key contributor in 2017 after transferring in from junior college, will stay for his senior season.
G Lester Cotton Jr.: He was a fulltime starter this season and is a proficient run blocker. He can improve in pass protection, for sure. He apparently is staying.
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick: As expected, he is turning pro. He will be the first or second defensive back off the board. He can play corner, nickel and safety – and he has played each at an extremely high level.
RB Damien Harris: Harris will stay for his senior season, which is a surprise. He led the Tide in rushing in each of the past two seasons.
S Ronnie Harrison: Harrison — a big, physical thumper on the back end — is bypassing his senior season. He gets overshadowed in Alabama’s secondary, but Harrison is a good safety who will go early in the draft.
DT Da’Ron Payne: Payne is going pro. He will be one of the first defensive tackles off the board, if not the first.
G Ross Pierschbacher: He is a three-year starter for the Tide, and he probably could play center if needed. Pierschbacher, an Iowa native, already has graduated and likely would be a second-day pick. He apparently is staying.
WR Calvin Ridley: Ridley, who turned 23 on December 20, announced he is turning pro. He will be one of the first receivers drafted, if not the first. He was one of the most productive receivers in Alabama history.
RB Bo Scarbrough: Scarbrough is turning pro. If ever a running back can be called intimidating physically, it’s Scarbrough. At the same time, he hasn’t come close to being the force that was projected. He is big, fast and physical, and had just 267 career carries — or 128 fewer than Derrick Henry had in 2015 alone.
LB Dre Greenlaw: He’s undersized (6-0, 229 pounds), which will be held against him whenever he comes out. He has good instincts and runs well. He is remaining in school.
G Hjalte Froholdt: A big, physical interior lineman who arrived at Arkansas as a defensive tackle. He is staying, which is a plus for new coach Chad Morris.
CB Carlton Davis: Davis has decided to turn pro. He’s a big corner (6-2, 191 pounds) who will be an early-round pick after he rebounded from a subpar sophomore season to have a good junior campaign.
DE/OLB Jeff Holland: Holland is turning pro. He became a force off the edge this season, and those skills are in high demand at the next level.
RB Kerryon Johnson: Johnson will turn pro. He’s a tough, hard-nosed back with OK speed. He can run between the tackles but also has the quickness to get around the corner. How early he comes off the board is an interesting question; he should go somewhere in the first three rounds.
RB Kamryn Pettway: Pettway announced he is going pro. He missed most of the season and has just one good year of tape. But he is a physical force running inside and his lack of work will be seen as a positive by NFL folks — assuming he shows he is healthy.
DT Dontavius Russell: A run-stuffing tackle with the ability to occasionally be disruptive, Russell says he is staying in school.
QB Jarrett Stidham: He announced that he is returning for 2018.
DT Taven Bryan: He already has announced he is going pro. He has a chance to go late in the first round but seems more likely to go on the second day. He has startling quickness for a guy who weighs almost 300 pounds, and is a good athlete as well.
WR Antonio Callaway: Reports say he is turning pro. He has a ton of talent, but he also will be arriving in the NFL with a lot of baggage. A lot.
S Marcell Harris: Somewhat surprisingly, Harris is turning pro. He missed 2017 with a torn Achilles, and conventional wisdom was he would petition the NCAA for the missed year — a petition that would’ve been granted — and show that he was healthy in 2018. Harris, who already has graduated, seems likely to be a third-day pick.
T/G Martez Ivey: Ivey announced Thursday night he was staying for this senior season. He hasn’t been as dominant as expected as a collegian, but has started at guard and tackle, has good athleticism and can be a road-grader in the running game.
DE/OLB Cece Jefferson: Jefferson said Wednesday he is staying in school. He’s a ‘tweener in size (6-2, 250) who has seen time as a tackle and as an end; he tied for the SEC lead with 13.5 tackles for loss this season and has impressive quickness off the ball. Florida seems likely to run a 3-4 in 2018, and Jefferson could end up as a stand-up outside linebacker.
K Eddy Pineiro: Pineiro, who has a big leg and is a touchback machine on kickoffs, has announced he is turning pro.
RB Jordan Scarlett: He was suspended for the season and seems all but certain to leave. But there has been no word on his decision.
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