So deep, in fact, that the back end of that talent isn't prepared to play at the pro level. That's what Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert suggested Wednesday with regard to a record number of underclassmen declaring draft eligibility.
Calling this year's draft "as deep across the board as any draft I've seen in 30 years," Colbert added that some underclassmen simply aren't ready for the NFL. Last month, an NFL record 98 underclassmen were granted special eligibility for the draft. A dozen of those weren't even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, which bodes poorly for their draft hopes given that far more prospects are invited to the combine than will ultimately be picked.
As for the depth that will be drafted, however, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees plenty, as well. So deep, in fact, that immediate starters will still be available on day three of the draft, with about the first 100 picks off the board.
"Last year's draft lacked star power at the top, but it was very deep. This year's crop has both star power and depth," Jeremiah said. "There will be a lot of first-year starters selected in the fourth and fifth round."