NFL officials have made an eagerly awaited change regarding college juniors looking to enter the NFL draft. A memo was issued to all 32 teams, allowing juniors who declare for the NFL draft in April to participate in college football postseason all-star games, as reported by sources to ESPN.
This change marks a departure from the previous rule, which restricted participation in all-star games to juniors who had already completed their degrees.
According to sources, the memo indicated that juniors formally declaring for the NFL draft can now be invited to take part in the Senior Bowl, the East-West Shrine Game, and the HBCU Legacy Bowl.
In the past year, players seeking special eligibility to enter the NFL draft had to submit their requests by January 16 if they had been out of high school for at least three seasons. On January 20, the list of the 69 players granted eligibility was shared with NFL teams.
For instance, players in the East-West Game arrived on January 26 for weigh-ins and practice, while Senior Bowl practices began on January 30. The HBCU Legacy Bowl also featured two padded practices for the participating players leading up to the game on February 25.
In the previous year’s draft, a total of 62 underclassmen were selected, and 19 of them were chosen in the first round. This shift in policy opens up new opportunities for college juniors to showcase their talents and potentially improve their draft stock.