Tuesday Draft Notes -- 15.0

nfl's picture

Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

With just the national title game remaining on the college football schedule, it’s time to revert back to our Tuesday draft notes. We start with rumors on the underclassman front and an update on Mason Rudolph.

I’m told Rudolph is looking forward to attending the Senior Bowl later this month and is in the midst of training with former Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson. Robinson, a seventh-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2010 and himself a veteran of the Senior Bowl, played four seasons in the NFL.

Rudolph is known as a high-character personality and is expected to impress during Senior Bowl interviews, which are slowly becoming as important as those which take place at the combine. The hope is that Robinson will ease Rudolph’s transition from the spread offense he commanded at Oklahoma State to the NFL passing offense employed at the Senior Bowl.

Sources tell me they expect the floodgates to open at Alabama next week once the title game is completed and that most of the top-rated underclassmen from the Crimson Tide will enter the draft.

As we reported a few weeks ago, receiver Calvin Ridley will enter the daft. Additional Tide players who are basically out the door once the title game concludes next Monday include running back Bo Scarbrough, defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne and safety Ronnie Harrison. Expectations are that defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick will also declare.

Several weeks ago I mentioned that there would be a few surprise entries from the University of Maryland into the draft. Since then, cornerback JC Jackson and receiver D.J. Moore have made themselves eligible.

In addition to those two, I’m told offensive linemen Derwin Gray and Damian Prince are both weighing their options and considering making the jump.

Nebraska coaches pulled out all the stops to keep offensive guard Nick Gates from entering the draft, but the junior -- who we grade as a mid-round pick -- was ready to move on.

Sources close to the situation said there was no concerted effort by the new coaching staff to keep quarterback Tanner Lee around for another season. Lee officially announced he was entering the draft last week, something we alluded to in the middle of November.

The truth is it was a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario for the quarterback.

Everyone was shaking their heads after Lee announced his entry into the draft, which was understandable off the season he had. But Lee would not have been a good fit for the offense new coach Scott Frost intends on implementing at Nebraska, and there’s a good chance he ultimately would have been benched had he returned to the Cornhuskers for another season.