The National Football League and American Football Coaches Association announced an agreement Monday that will provide additional information about select college underclassmen to the NFL's College Advisory Committee, which in turn will help the committee give draft prospects more accurate feedback regarding their draft status.
Beginning in February, FBS schools will be able to designate up to five underclassmen who will return to college in 2017 for additional scouting. They can be timed, tested and interviewed by scouts during the school's pro day event, which has traditionally been limited to seniors and underclassmen who have been granted early draft eligibility. In gathering information about top players who will be returning to school, the scouting departments of NFL clubs will have a stronger foundation of data about those players as they scout them in the ensuing fall season.
"The more information our College Advisory Committee has, the better evaluations they can make for student-athletes who are at a critical juncture of their lives," said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. "While there is no question that obtaining a college degree is a transformative experience for so many people in society and a goal to which we encourage everyone to aspire to, for those talented few individuals that have the ability to succeed in the NFL prior to exhausting their college football eligibility, this new agreement will ensure they have better information with which to make their decision. We appreciate the efforts of our partners at the AFCA in making this new agreement a reality."
The agreement goes into effect in February, 2017.
Schools can request that more than five players be designated for the early scouting, subject to the determination by the NFL that the players are legitimate draft prospects.
In July at SEC Media Days, Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned the possibility of, and advocated for, providing NFL scouts with more information on underclassmen in hopes of giving them better feedback regarding their draft status.
Underclassmen apply for feedback from the advisory board in December and typically receive it in January, prior to the NFL's deadline to apply for early draft entry. In an effort to reduce the number of underclassmen who enter the draft early, the NFL changed its policies on feedback in 2014.