With the 2016 all-star games and scouting Combine now behind us, it’s full steam ahead through pro days to the 2016 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday, April 28th. The NFL is unique among all major sports in that you could make a credible argument that the “business season” (don’t call it the off-season around these here parts, buster) is every bit as dramatic as the regular season.
And that’s just fine with us, as in our little corner of the world, this is our favorite time of the year.
We have had our 2016 NFL Draft Prospects up on our site since November. We typically start with about 1,000 draft-eligible prospects, then delete a few (more on that in a moment) and add a bunch. No matter how hard we try to get everyone, it happens every year in the sixth or seventh round, when we are beyond bleary-eyed: someone (I’m talking to you, Belichick) drafts a prospect that’s not on our list, and we have to scramble to add him. Other additions come from our Members, so if there’s a prospect you think we’re missing, let us know.
Over the weekend, we made a major revision to this list that included 149 additions of prospects that got on the radar since November. We also removed a few dozen prospects who were generally expected to be in this draft class, but for whatever reason are not. Some of the more notable deletions are:
Tre’Davious White – The draft-eligible LSU CB sought guidance from the NFL and heard what every prospect wants to hear: He could be a first round pick this spring. Unlike many juniors who hear those words, however, he decided to return for another year of seasoning in Baton Rouge. Why? The answer, as told to Ron Higgins of NOLA.com, is refreshingly simple: White wants to get his college degree. He also wants to get better at his craft. “I thought it over and over [and] feel like another year will get me more physically and mentally ready.”
Jonathan Allen – The sack leader of Alabama’s national championship team this past season wasn’t Jarran Reed or A’Shawn Robinson or even Reggie Ragland. It was Allen, a 283-pound defensive end for the Tide, who totaled 12. Allen thought long and hard about heading for the NFL after learning he projected to most likely go in the second round, per a January interview with ESPN’s Chris Low. A factor in his decision could be that he faces shoulder surgery, which, while considered minor, could have an impact on his draft status.
Dan Voltz – Voltz, who has already earned his undergraduate degree, says he would have considered entering this draft, but that all came to an end, along with his season, when he tore his ACL vs. Illinois on October 24th. Instead, he’ll return to the Badgers as the clear leader of their (otherwise) young offensive line this fall.
O.J. Howard – Anyone who saw the talented Alabama TE’s MVP performance in January’s National Championship game vs. Clemson – and didn’t see him otherwise in 2015 – was likely shocked that he decided to return for another year in Tuscaloosa. However, he has work to do in several areas, and was wise to spend another year learning and building on what may have been his breakout performance.
Gone, But not Forgotten… Except for Scouting Notes
In our iGMTM NFL General Manager simulation, we give you the tools, under the Draft Room tab, to grade and rank the draft prospects. You can keep your own scouting notes on all of them, so you have a convenient place to record all of your observations throughout “draft season.” And, we’ll keep all of your grades and notes indefinitely, so you can go back and refer to your work in the future.
Unfortunately, when we delete players from the list, those notes and grades already entered by our Members are lost. There’s not a lot we can do about this (the bad news.) But, we’re not likely to delete many more prospects for 2016 from this point forward. Any that we do delete are likely errors that someone in our audience caught, leaving us all red-faced and everything.
Somehow, even after doing this for quite a while now, we still get a handful of new schools – schools that we have never had a prospect from, despite building a list of more than 1,000 every year. I’ve become fond of the annual newcomers in the same quirky way that “Mr. Irrelevant” is an amusing right of spring, and especially fond of learning their monikers.
I was a bit surprised not to have seen Bucknell before. Years ago, I “played” (if simply being on the team counts) against both the Bison and East Stroudsburg as a hideously unathletic scrub tight end during my years at Lehigh. Speaking of Lehigh, I long for the day that someone brings the same pride to my fellow Lehigh alumni on the gridiron that the Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum has brought us on the hardwood. Apparently, upsetting Duke in the 2012 NCAAs was not the high point, after all.
More on topic, please join me in welcoming these schools to the long and honored role of educational institutions for which the world now has a standardized abbreviation of six characters or less (drum roll, please):
- Bucknell Bison
- University of Calgary Dinos
- East Stroudsburg (PA) Warriors
- Globe Tech (NY) Knights
- University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio) Cardinal
- Laval University (Quebec) Rouge et Or (“Red and Gold”)
- University of North Carolina Central Eagles
- Ohio Northern Polar Bears
- St. Thomas (Miami) Bobcats
- Shorter University (GA) Hawks
Nice Guys Finish… by Citing Their Sources
Every year, we use the NFL Draft prospects list built by Rob Rang’s gang (Rob, feel free to use that one) over at CBSSports.com as our starting point. They get their lists together early – like, years early – and, degree of difficulty considered, it’s pretty darn accurate. We soooooo appreciate the work you do and how much easier it makes things for us! So, thanks for that.