NFL announces deadline for fourth-year players to declare 2021 NFL draft intentions

2021 NFL draft seniors

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2021 NFL draft is Jan. 18, but the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 college football season has fourth-year players (aka, seniors) granted an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA. As a result, those players must also declare their intentions for the NFL Draft– sort of —  and it was reported on Thursday that they’ll have until March 1 to do so.

The difference here is that the league will essentially assume fourth-year players are in the 2021 draft pool. Instead, ‘seniors’ have to inform the NFL that they aren’t entering the draft and will instead return for the extra year of college ball.

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Underclassmen have to say they’re in. Seniors (fourth-year players) have to say they’re out. Got it? Good.

It’s a strange deadline considering the NFL Combine is traditionally held at the end of February. This could be a sign that the Combine will be held later in the spring or canceled altogether.

There have been many seniors, like Florida’s Kyle Trask, who’ve taken to social media to announce their intention to turn pro. It appears those posts were superfluous.

The 2021 NFL draft is scheduled to kick off on April 29 in Cleveland.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL