Experts Discussion ... When NFL Eligible?
Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno
Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno
Posted Jul 14, 2008

When should players should be eligible for the NFL draft?

Preview 2008 - Experts Roundtable

Part 12 - When Should Players Be Eligible For The NFL Draft?

CFN is honored to once again get the thoughts and opinions on some of the hot topics from some of the most talented, influential insiders in the college football media, while getting to know a little bit more about them.

Along with
Pete Fiutak and Richard Cirminiello from CFN in the discussion are ...

- Charles Davis, NFL Network/FOX Sports
- Dennis Dodd, - College Football Columnist

- Bruce Feldman, - College Football Columnist
- Steve Greenberg, The Sporting News - College Football Columnist
- Teddy "Mr. Media" Greenstein, Chicago Tribune - College Football Columnist, Media Columnist
- Stewart Mandel, - College Football Columnist

- Part 1 What aspect of college football should you care about, but really don't?
- Part 2 Should a two loss LSU team really have won the national title?
- Part 3 How should college football be more like the NFL?
- Part 4
Your college football guilty pleasure
- Part 5 How/why did you get into covering college football?
- Part 6 How/why is the BCS better than a playoff?
- Part 7 I'm not buying into ...
- Part 8 Just how bad is the Big Ten?
- Part 9 Do you have any problems with Tim Tebow winning two Heismans?
- Part 10 Give the 2010 Rankings for: Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska & Notre Dame
- Part 11 How much do you care about non-BCS teams?
- Part 12 When Should Players Be Eligible for the Draft?
- Part 13 The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be ...
- Part 14 The Best & Worst Interviews You've Ever Done
- Part 15 Quick Hitters, Part 1: Greatest Players & Greatest Games

- Part 16 Quick Hitters, Part 2: The National Champion & Heisman Winner

When should players should be eligible for the NFL draft?

Dennis Dodd:
Out of high school. Adrian Peterson proved that to me after what he did at Oklahoma as a freshman. End of story.

Bruce Feldman: I’m fine with after their third year. Almost none of them are ready physically or emotionally to make that jump. Of course, many think they are. Worse still, many of their family and friends and the agents swarming would tell them they are.

Steve Greenberg: 18 years old

Fiu: From conception. The college coaches get paid for their work while the players get scholarships, room and board, stipends, and gifts from the bowls, thus ending the childish notion that college football is an amateur sport, so why keep up the charade that it’s anything other than a developmental league for the pros if the NFL has an eligibility rule in place? The overall college system works for the guys who have no pro shot whatsoever, but the elite of the elite prospects, the real revenue generators, get absolutely and totally screwed at every level.

The top players 1) generate billions of dollars, 2) don’t get paid, 3) can’t get paid, 4) can’t get a normal job, 5) aren’t allowed to have an agent, be given a car, or be handed a ham sandwich by any rich old man named Happy, and 6) have to risk injury, and millions of dollars, by playing college football even if they’re ready for the pros. Oooh, let’s force the NFL-ready kid to stay in school because an extra year of basket weaving classes will make him a better person who’s more prepared for the real world … (tongue sticking out making raspberry sound) ppffffffttthththttfhfh. Grow up, people.

The players aren’t as naive as you think. Almost all of them know exactly where they stand when it comes to their pro potential and the maturity of their bodies, the NFL advisory board is really good at helping the process, and it’s not like the deluded ones who leave early and end up getting screwed would’ve cured cancer by being forced to stay in school three years after high school.

If you really wanted to make this fair, let the players be eligible for the draft whenever they want to be, but let them have the option of coming back to school and playing if they don’t like where they were taken. Oh no, heaven forbid the NFL scouts and college coaches become inconvenienced in any way.

Charles Davis: I like the current eligibility rule…if I took it to its logical extreme, right out of HS, but I like the current rule best.

Teddy Greenstein: After three years. Sure, it's un-American to keep someone from pursuing happiness (i.e. crazy money). But it's for their best long-term interests. And it's for the good of the game (i.e. writers and fans like you and me).

Stewart Mandel: It's fine the way it is.

Richard Cirminiello: The NFL has nailed this situation, requiring that a draft-eligible player be three years removed from his high school graduation.  It’s good for the league, the fans, and the college game.  Sure, it’s not ideal for the civil libertarian in your life, but, like seat belt laws, it keeps kids from making gross mistakes that could haunt them for years.  Those three years allow athletes to mature physically and emotionally before heading off to a league without guaranteed contracts or much margin for error.  This isn’t the NBA, where the occasional freak can leave high school and be ready for the pros.  Keep lawyers out of it and leave the rules the way they currently stand.