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2017 NFL Draft: 5 good early entry decisions, 5 questionable calls

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Monday marks the deadline for underclassmen to apply for early eligibility into the 2017 NFL Draft, and 95 players have made their intentions to enter the draft known. A list of players who have been granted early entry will be released to NFL teams on Friday.

While most of the youngsters made prudent decisions to pursue their dreams, there were plenty of players who made surprising choices to prematurely end their college careers. After surveying the list of early entrants, here are 5 players that made good decisions, and 5 who should have stayed in school.

Five who made good decisions

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE: The possible No.1 overall pick is as pro-ready as they come as a pass rusher. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end flashed exceptional speed, quickness and athleticism on the way to racking up 32.5 sacks in three seasons. Despite dealing with nagging injuries during his final season at Texas A&M, Garrett consistently dominated the game at the line of scrimmage against the run and pass. Most importantly, he looked like the best player on the field whenever he squared off against an elite competitor on the edge. Given his polish, production and potential, Garrett didn't have a lot to gain by staying another season in Aggie-land.

Malik Hooker, Ohio State, S: It's hard to find a pure centerfielder with speed, athleticism, ball skills and tackling ability in the college game. That's why Hooker is a hot commodity in the scouting circles as an Ed Reed-like safety with a penchant for delivering big plays between the hashes. He finished the regular season with seven interceptions, including three pick-sixes, while exhibiting terrific range and anticipation as a deep middle defender. With several teams in need of a turnover machine in the middle of the field, Hooker wisely put his services up for auction in the 2017 draft.

Solomon Thomas, Stanford, DL: Scouts and coaches love disruptive defenders with high-revving motors and explosive athletic traits. Thomas fits the bill as a 6-3, 273-pound lineman with exceptional first-step quickness and violent hands. He led the Cardinal with 15 tackles for loss and 8 sacks during the season. Most importantly, Thomas flashed dominant skills as a run defender/rusher at the point of attack. Whether it was penetrating off the edges on an assortment of speed-to-power maneuvers or bursting through gaps on stunts or games, Thomas is a crafty defender with a set of tools to thrive as a designated playmaker in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson, QB: The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist put the finishing touches on an illustrious collegiate career with a spectacular performance in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Watson not only knocked off a seemingly unbeatable Alabama squad with a series of laser-like tosses from the pocket, but he showed evaluators his confidence, poise and leadership skills in a pressure-packed environment. Although his flaws (inconsistent accuracy/ball placement) remain a concern for evaluators looking for a prototypical franchise quarterback, he has a resume full of big wins and championship hardware that will make him impossible to ignore as one of the best "big-game" players in the 2017 class.

Cam Robinson, Alabama, OT: The lack of quality offensive tackles in the 2017 class will certainly boost the stock of the ex-Alabama standout based on his superior talent as an edge blocker. Robinson is a big-bodied mauler with the strength and power to move defenders off the ball, particularly in the running game. Even though he remains a work in progress as a pass protector, Robinson displays enough athleticism, balance and body control to develop into a potential blindside tackle in the near future. With that in mind, it's easy to see why Robinson decided to take his talents to the next level at the end of his junior season.

Five who should've stayed in school

Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, QB: The Tar Heel standout could be the first quarterback selected on draft day, but concerns about his limited playing experience (13 career starts) and lack of signature wins would've made returning to Chapel Hill for another season a wise move. Despite completing 67.5 percent of his passes and posting an impressive 30:6 touchdown to interception ratio as a one-year starter, Trubisky hasn't played enough to step into the league as a Day 1 starter. With plenty of examples of underclassmen quarterbacks struggling to make the transition to the pro game (see Mark Sanchez), the opportunity to get extra reps as a college starter might've been a better career move.

Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech, QB: It's hard to dispute Evans' success as a one-year starter with the Hokies. He guided his squad to a 10-win season and put up impressive numbers along the way (3,552 passing yards, 29:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 846 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs) but he remains a draft day wild card due to his lack of major college experience and unrefined mechanics. With only one full season of starts under his belt, Evans is not quite ready to deal with the complex coverage he will face as a pro and he could've spent the extra year refining his footwork within the pocket. Considering how elite quarterback prospects are expected to be able to play from Day 1, Evans could've spent his senior season working on skills that would help him succeed as a young pro.

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Joseph Yearby, Miami, RB: The "U" has a long history of producing NFL running backs, but scouts are uncertain if Yearby can continue the tradition after a disappointing career that featured only one 1,000-yard season in three years. Despite the 5-foot-9, 205-pound junior flashing quick feet and sneaky power as a full-time starter in 2015, he finished the 2016 campaign as the Hurricanes' RB3. With the 2017 RB class shaping up to be one of the deepest and most talented collections of players at the position in recent memory, Yearby could find himself on the outside looking in when the draft rolls around in April.

Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M, WR: There's no disputing that Seal-Jones has an NFL body and potential, but he doesn't have the numbers to support his case as a top draft pick. Although he finished his three-year career with 123 receptions, 1,440 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, Seals-Jones rarely affected the game to the level of his talent. Thus, he is a bit of an enigma as a playmaker and scouts really don't know where to stack a 6-5, 225-pound pass-catcher with a checkered resume on the field.

Noah Brown, Ohio State, WR: Scouts certainly love former Buckeyes based on the recent success of ex-Ohio State standouts in the NFL. While Brown has shown flashes of NFL potential as a designated playmaker for the Buckeyes (see four-touchdown performance against Oklahoma), he only has a single season of production as a collegian and must overcome his injury history (broken leg in 2015). Considering Brown's lack of dominance as a perimeter playmaker, scouts could elect to bypass the 6-2, 218-pound pass-catcher on draft day.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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