NFL prospects facing big decisions

Connor Cook has a big decision to make regarding the 2015 NFL draft. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Almost all college football players have finished regular-season games, and for juniors who believe the NFL is in sight, that means there is an often difficult decision to be made. Last year a record number of non-seniors entered the draft, and I don't expect the trend to change. The economic incentives are obviously significant, and in a league where roughly 20 percent of the players aren't drafted, many players know you don't have to have your name called to reach the league and have success.

But let's take a look at some juniors and redshirt sophomores with major decisions to make for one of two reasons:

• Their stock could shift significantly between this year and next year, or ...
• Entering the draft would shift the pecking order at that position

There are dozens and dozens of these decisions to be made, but here are 10 that stand out, with a look at the upside and the downside of leaving early for each.


Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

The upside: If he comes out, Cook has a legit chance to go in Round 1.

The downside: He's behind three other likely draft entrants at QB on my board, so there's no guarantee for Round 1. Cook is a talent, but he has work to do in multiple areas. If he leaves this year, he risks falling into Round 2 if he's not great during the draft process. And he doesn't look like a player who's ready to start as a rookie. If he returns, he could make more money down the road.