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Johnny Manziel had not filed for draft grade as of last weekend

The holiday season is a busy time of year for a lot of folks -- including the NFL Draft Advisory Board. A tweet from longtime NFL writer Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that 201 underclassmen already have submitted paperwork to the committee as of Thursday.

NFL Media reporter Albert Breer tweeted Thursday that as of last weekend, 158 underclassmen had filed for feedback, and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney were not among that group.

As Breer pointed out, if Manziel still has not filed for feedback, it might be that he decided he didn't need the board's help to make a decision about his future.

NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt, who worked for the Dallas Cowboys for almost 30 years as the vice president of player personnel, said the goal of the advisory board -- which began in 1994 -- is to help underclassmen make informed decisions as to whether they should turn pro. The player's best interests are the key, Brandt said: "Part of the reason for the group is trying to keep kids from making a mistake."

The DAB is a small group made up of general managers and personnel directors from some NFL teams, as well as the directors of two scouting services. It's a group of "very, very good evaluators," Brandt said.

While there is no set date for an underclassman to submit paperwork, players are told that if it is submitted later than mid-December, they might not get a thorough and complete evaluation by the Jan. 15 underclassmen declaration date. For instance, some players that were at the College Football Awards show festivities at Disney World last week said they made it a point to send in their paperwork as soon as possible after their regular seasons ended.

The DAB does not issue specific "grades." Instead, there are five categories as to when a player likely would get drafted: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Rounds 4-7 and likely not drafted.

Brandt said it's important to remember that the evaluations come before the combine and pro days. A player who receives a good evaluation can hurt himself in the draft process with a poor workout or a poor combine showing.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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