The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2021 NFL draft is quickly approaching. In fact, it’s less than one week away: January 18.
The 2020 NFL draft had 115 underclassmen declare and a total of 24 were picked in the first round, a slight uptick from 2019’s total of 105 underclassmen declarations. The record for most underclassmen in a draft class was set in 2018 when 135 declared.
This year’s number will be skewed because of the extra year of eligibility that’s been granted to collegiate athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s forced seniors to announce their intention to turn pro when in any other draft class, it would’ve been automatic.
We’ll see whether the NFL lists those players in their final underclassmen count. If so, the 2021 draft will set a record that’s unlikely to ever be broken.