College Football's NFL Draft Deadline Winners and Losers for 2017

Ohio State was hit hard by early departures once again.

The NFL Draft’s early entry deadline officially passed on Monday evening and over 90 players declared for the next level. The official list of players leaving for the NFL will be released on Friday. While the official list isn't out yet, it's no secret which players have already announced their intentions for the next level and which teams will be filling the most voids this offseason.


With the early entrants declared, it’s time to take a look at the winners and losers from a college perspective.


The early entry deadline is a key moment in any college football offseason, as this allows coaches to get a better view of which players are returning and how the roster looks headed into Signing Day.


Which teams are the big winners and which progams have big shoes to fill thanks to the 2017 draft deadline? Here are the winners and losers with the draft deadline process: 




Arizona State

The Sun Devils are coming off a disappointing 5-7 season, but coach Todd Graham’s team received good news at the draft deadline with running back Kalen Ballage’s decision to return for 2017. The duo of Ballage and Demario Richard should be one of the nation’s best tandems next fall.


Related: College Football's Early Top 25 Teams for 2017



Center Frank Ragnow was one of the SEC’s top linemen in 2016 and returns to anchor the Arkansas offensive line next fall. Ragnow should challenge for All-America honors.



Kicker Daniel Carlson, guard Braden Smith and running back Kamryn Pettway decided against the NFL Draft, but end Carl Lawson left for the next level.


Boston College

With a wealth of talent in the ACC on the defensive line, end Harold Landry was largely overlooked on a national level in 2016. Expect that to change next fall, as Landry decided to return to Boston College after recording 16.5 sacks last year.



Despite the departure of receiver Isaiah McKenzie early to the NFL, coach Kirby Smart’s team is a big winner for the draft deadline. Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel decided to pass on the NFL for one more season in Athens. Additionally, safety Dominick Sanders (nine interceptions over last two years) is also returning for 2017.


Related: Early SEC Predictions for 2017


Georgia Tech

Indirectly, the Yellow Jackets were a big winner for the NFL Draft’s early entry deadline. The starting quarterbacks at Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech declared early, and Pitt lost running back James Conner. Georgia Tech will be a sleeper to watch in the Coastal Division title race next year.



The Hawkeyes must replace Athlon Sports first-team All-America cornerback Desmond King and quarterback C.J. Beathard, but the rebuilding effort in Iowa City got a little easier with Akrum Wadley’s decision to return in 2017. The running back recorded 1,081 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. All-Big Ten linebacker Josey Jewell is also returning to anchor the defense next fall.


Iowa State

Second-year coach Matt Campbell picked up an offseason victory as receiver Allen Lazard pass on the NFL for another season in Ames. Lazard caught 69 passes for 1,018 yards and seven scores in 2016.


Related: Early Big 12 Predictions for 2017



The Tigers could be the team to beat in the American Athletic Conference’s West Division next season. Quarterback Riley Ferguson was already slated to return, but the offense received an extra boost with receiver Anthony Miller (95 catches for 1,434 yards) turning down the NFL.


Notre Dame

Losing quarterback DeShone Kizer to the NFL was a setback, but the losses around the draft deadline could have been worse for coach Brian Kelly’s team. Linemen Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson – two of the best in college football – passed on the NFL for another season in South Bend. Linebacker Nyles Morgan (90 stops) is also slated to return to lead the Fighting Irish defense. Sophomore Brandon Wimbush - a four-star recruit out of high school - should be a capable replacement for Kizer.


Oklahoma State

Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor is a big loss, but quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver James Washington both passed on the NFL. The Rudolph to Washington connection should keep Oklahoma State in contention for the Big 12 title in 2017.


Related: College Football's Early Top 25 for 2017



New coach Willie Taggart scored an early victory when running back Royce Freeman, tackle Tyrell Crosby and receiver Darren Carrington all decided to return to Eugene for 2017.



The Mustangs are a team on the rise for 2017. Receiver Courtland Sutton (76 catches) is back after considering an early departure to the NFL.



Tight end Adam Breneman (70 catches for 808 yards) passed on the NFL for one more season as the top target for the Minutemen offense.


Related: Early Look at College Football's Top 25 Games for 2017



Second-year coach Bronco Mendenhall’s rebuilding project picked up some good news this offseason. Safety Quin Blanding and linebacker Micah Kiser – both All-ACC players for 2017 – are coming back next season.


Washington State

Quarterback Luke Falk has passed for more than 4,000 yards in each of the last two seasons and is returning for one more year to guide coach Mike Leach’s high-powered offense.




NC State

Safety Josh Jones declared early for the NFL, but standout end Bradley Chubb decided to return for his senior year.


Related: College Football's Top 15 Teams on the Rise for 2017



All-Big Ten linebacker Anthony Walker will be missed. However, running back Justin Jackson decided to return for his senior year.


Penn State

Receiver Chris Godwin and end Garrett Sickels declared early for the next level. However, coach James Franklin received good news with the decisions by tight end Mike Gesicki and safety Marcus Allen to return to campus in 2017.



The Cowboys lost running back Brian Hill early to the NFL, but quarterback Josh Allen’s decision to return to Laramie should keep coach Craig Bohl’s team in contention for the Mountain West title.





Four of the ACC’s top quarterbacks are headed to the next level, as Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans and Miami’s Brad Kaaya passed on their senior year.



Nick Saban’s program is a factory for NFL talent, and three more players are set to pass on another year in Tuscaloosa for the next level. Left tackle Cam Robinson, receiver ArDarius Stewart and cornerback Marlon Humphrey all decided to bolt early to the NFL. The early departures add to a list of offseason concerns for Saban, as he already has to replace standout defenders in linebacker Reuben Foster and end Jonathan Allen.


Related: College Football's Early Top 25 for 2017



New coach Matt Rhule was already short on depth for 2017, and the Bears will be looking for a new duo of go-to receivers to emerge after the early departures of KD Cannon (87 catches for 1,215 yards) and Ishmael Zamora (63 grabs) to the NFL. Chris Platt, Blake Lynch and Pooh Stricklin headline the top returning targets for quarterback Zach Smith.



Not only must new coach Justin Wilcox find a replacement for quarterback Davis Webb, he will have to find a new go-to receiver after Chad Hansen (92 catches) bolted early for the next level. The return of Demetris Robertson and Melquise Stovall (combined 92 catches as freshmen) eases the departure of Hansen.



The Tigers will begin their national title defense without some of the biggest names from last season’s team. Quarterback Deshaun Watson, running back Wayne Gallman and receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott are all slated to depart for the next level.


Related: Early Look at College Football's Top 25 Games for 2017


Boise State

Boise State’s offense has produced a 1,000-yard rusher for eight straight years, and the cupboard is hardly empty with Alexander Mattison (328 yards) set to return next fall. However, Jeremy McNichols (1,709 yards) leaves big shoes to fill.



New coordinator Randy Shannon loses four key contributors from last season’s defense. Tackle Caleb Brantley, linebacker Alex Anzalone and cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor are all off to the NFL. Left tackle David Sharpe also decided to pass on his senior season in Gainesville.


Florida State

As expected, running back Dalvin Cook (1,765 yards in 2016) is off to the next level. Incoming freshman Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick will help to fill the void left behind by Cook in 2017. The Seminoles also lost tackle Roderick Johnson and receiver Travis Rudolph to the next level. The news around the deadline wasn't all bad for Florida State. Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and linebacker Matthew Thomas are slated to return next season.


Related: Top 10 Projected Breakout Players for 2017


Kansas State

The Wildcats were already set to lose standout end Jordan Willis and safety Dante Barnett from a defense ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 in scoring (22.3 ppg) last season. The departure of linebacker Elijah Lee adds to the rebuilding effort for coach Bill Snyder this spring.



Benny Snell (1,091 yards) is expected to push for All-SEC honors in 2017, but the Wildcats will miss Boom Williams’ big-play ability (6.84 ypc in 2016) out of the backfield.



Both sides of the ball lost a key player for new coach Tom Allen’s team in 2017. Running back Devine Redding departs after recording 1,122 yards in 2016, while linebacker Marcus Oliver (15.5 TFL) is also passing on his senior season for the NFL.



After avoiding major losses to the NFL last January, the Tigers were hit with four early departures this offseason. Running back Leonard Fournette, receiver Malachi Dupre, safety Jamal Adams and lineman Davon Godchaux are all headed to the next level.


Related: College Football's Early Top 25 for 2017


Louisiana Tech

The Bulldogs will have to defend their C-USA West Division title with a new set of go-to receivers. Trent Taylor (136 catches) expired his eligibility, but Carlos Henderson (82 catches and 18.7 ypc) declared early for the next level.



Mark Richt’s return to Coral Gables resulted in a 9-4 record in 2016, but the Hurricanes have some work to do this offseason if they want to win the Coastal Division. Quarterback Brad Kaaya was one of the best in the ACC and passed on a senior year for a shot at the 2017 NFL Draft. He could be one of the first quarterbacks off the board. Tight end David Njoku (43 catches) also left early for the NFL.



Coach Jim Harbaugh received a bit of good news around the deadline when offensive lineman Mason Cole announced his intentions to return to the team in 2017. However, the defense lost hybrid linebacker/safety Jabrill Peppers to the NFL. Peppers’ departure is just another void coordinator Don Brown will have to fill from a defense that limited opponents to 14.1 points per game in 2016.


Michigan State

After a surprising 3-9 record in 2016, the list of preseason question marks for coach Mark Dantonio grew a little longer after tackle Malik McDowell and safety Montae Nicholson decided to leave East Lansing for the NFL.



Missouri’s pass rush is looking for the next standout in the trenches to emerge after Charles Harris left Columbia for the NFL. Harris led the team in sacks in each of the last two seasons.


Related: College Football's Top 15 Teams on the Rise for 2017


North Carolina

The Tar Heels suffered big losses on both sides of the ball to the NFL. Coach Larry Fedora’s offense must replace standout quarterback Mitch Trubisky and running back Elijah Hood, while the defense lost tackle Nazair Jones (9.5 TFL) to an early departure.


Ohio State

After losing nine players early to the NFL last season, the Buckeyes once again appear in this space for the 2017 deadline. Headed to the next level are three defensive backs – Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker – and All-Big Ten linebacker Raekwon McMillan from a defense that limited opponents to 15.5 points a game in 2016. The offense must replace receivers Noah Brown and Curtis Samuel – a combined 106 of Ohio State’s 255 receptions from last season.



Thanks to the return of quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma should be the favorite to claim the Big 12 title in 2017. However, coordinator Lincoln Riley has to replenish the skill positions for Mayfield after the early departures of running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine and go-to receiver Dede Westbrook.


Related: College Football's Top 10 Projected Breakout Players for 2017



The Panthers have a couple of talented backs waiting in the wings but losing running back James Conner (1,092 yards) is still a big loss for this offense.



Coach David Shaw is replacing the best player on offense (Christian McCaffrey) and defense (Solomon Thomas) after both players left for the NFL. Christian McCaffrey was the nation’s best all-purpose player over the last two seasons and earned a spot among the Heisman finalists in 2015. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas led the team with eight sacks and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2016.



As expected, defensive end Derek Barnett (33 career sacks) decided to leave Knoxville for the NFL. Barnett was one of the SEC’s top defenders over the last three seasons and was a first-team All-American by Athlon Sports in 2016. Running back Alvin Kamara (5.8 ypc) and No. 1 receiver Josh Malone (50 catches for 972 yards) are also headed to the NFL.



The Longhorns only lost one player, but running back D’Onta Foreman (2,028 yards in 2016) leaves big shoes to fill. Helping to fill the void left behind by Foreman will be Chris Warren (366 yards) and Kyle Porter (206 yards).


Related: Early Big 12 Predictions for 2017


Texas A&M

With three consecutive 8-5 seasons, 2017 could be a make-or-break year for coach Kevin Sumlin in College Station. The Aggies were already facing some personnel uncertainty on both sides of the ball, which includes finding a replacement for quarterback Trevor Knight and receiver Josh Reynolds. However, likely No. 1 pick Myles Garrett is off to the NFL, and the receiving corps had two players – Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones – depart a year early.


Texas Tech

Coach Kliff Kingsbury heads into a potential make-or-break year needing to replace quarterback Patrick Mahomes after he declared early for the NFL. Mahomes led the nation in total offense per game in each of the last two seasons.



The Trojans’ 2017 playoff hopes took a hit with the departure of three key players to the NFL. Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (70 grabs), cornerback/all-purpose threat Adoree’ Jackson and lineman Damien Mama are all off to the NFL. With Mama’s early departure, USC will have three voids to fill in the trenches this spring.



New coach Charlie Strong inherits a team capable of finishing 2017 as the top Group of 5 team in the CFB Playoff selection committee rankings. Quarterback Quinton Flowers is back, but the offense will miss the steady play of running back Marlon Mack (1,187 yards).



In his only season at Utah, left tackle Garett Bolles emerged as one of the Pac-12’s top linemen and earned fourth-team All-America honors by Athlon Sports. Safety Marcus Williams picked off 10 passes over the last two years and is a big loss for a secondary already set to lose cornerbacks Dominique Hatfield and Reggie Porter and nickel back Justin Thomas.



Aaron Jones was one of the nation’s most underrated running backs in 2016 and declared early after recording 1,773 yards and 17 scores in 12 contests.



The news at the draft deadline wasn’t all bad for coach Derek Mason. Running back Ralph Webb is back for his senior year, but All-America linebacker Zach Cunningham won’t be easy to replace.


Virginia Tech

Defending the Coastal Division title won’t be easy for the Hokies in 2017. Quarterback Jerod Evans and receiving targets Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges decided to depart Blacksburg to go to the NFL.



Repeating as Pac-12 champs could depend on how quickly Washington is able to replace its early entries to the NFL. On offense, the big-play ability of receiver John Ross (14.2 ypc) will be missed. However, the losses on defense could be tougher to fill. The Huskies lose two talented players (cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Budda Baker) and lineman Elijah Qualls early to the next level. All four players were first-team All-Pac-12 selections in 2016.


West Virginia

The Mountaineers lost only one player to the NFL Draft, but it’s a big one for the offense. Receiver Shelton Gibson (22.1 ypc) is headed for the next level. Ka’Raun White (48 catches) and Jovon Durante headline the receiving corps for 2017.



Left tackle Ryan Ramczyk was a first-team All-American in his only season of snaps with the Badgers. His ability to dominate one side of the defense will be missed by quarterback Alex Hornibrook in 2017. Linebacker T.J. Watt (11.5 sacks) is also leaving early. However, the Badgers will regain the services of Chris Orr and Jack Cichy at linebacker after both were lost to season-ending ailments in 2016.

Event Date: 
Monday, January 16, 2017 - 21:40

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