As the college bowl season gets underway, I decided to release my third mock draft of the year. And I’m sure there will be a lot more updates to my mock draft as draft day approaches on April 22nd. However, conducting a mock draft this time of year is rather difficult, because the names involved in the spring spectacle haven’t been determined at this point; draft-eligible underclassmen have until January 15th to declare for the 2010 NFL Draft.
From my standpoint, it’s unrealistic to include all of the draft-eligible players in a mock draft; I only concentrate on the underclassmen that have either declared or I believe will declare for the draft. With that said, the most prominent name left out of my first round mock draft is Texas safety Earl Thomas.
At 5-foot-11, 197 pounds, Thomas, a redshirt sophomore, is coming off of a breakout season where he posted 71 tackles and eight interceptions. Now while his draft stock is at its highest peak, I don’t encourage a collegiate player to enter the world of professional football until he completes his junior season. Another highly regarded redshirt sophomore, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, is also rumored to be contemplating his football future; word of advice, stay in school.
For the players projected in my first round mock draft, 16 of them are juniors and 16 of them are seniors. If it weren’t for the infusion of underclassmen each year, the NFL Draft would be ordinary and lack the intrigue that creates a frenzy this time of year. The draft order used in this mock draft is based on the teams record heading into Week 15. However, there are teams that share the same record, and in case of that occurrence, their placement in the first round was decided on strength of schedule for the 2009 season.
The St. Louis Rams are on the clock…
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* denotes underclassmen
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.
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