(CBS) It’s been no secret that NFL personnel have concerns about the increasing number of college underclassmen leaving early to enter the draft. Our own Adam Hoge wrote about the problem a couple weeks ago, the concern being what happens to a youngster who leaves school early only to then see his professional dreams die.

But there’s also another angle to that idea: How much is the NFL Draft hurting college football? It’s a topic that the Wall-Street Journal addressed in an article Tuesday.

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From the WS-J:

Throughout the offices and film rooms of NFL teams, the whispers are building: This may be the deepest NFL draft ever. It also may be the one that ruins college football.

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There will be at least 98 underclassmen available in May’s NFL Draft, an 85 percent increase from 2010, the year before the latest collective bargaining agreement, WS-J reported. A change in the latest CBS is believed to have set this shift in motion, as the salaries of top draft picks were scaled back (Eric Fisher, the 2013 No. 1 overall pick, got a four-year, $22-million deal; Sam Bradford got six years and $78 million in 2010).

As WS-J reports, “the financial incentive to stay in school and improve one’s draft position is gone.”


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This seismic shift has set off a bit of a panic in the college ranks. “You look at a team like LSU. You lose so many guys that you are reloading with freshmen,” said former Arkansas and Mississippi coach Houston Nutt, who is now a CBS Sports analyst. “It gets to be like John Calipari with Kentucky: You are talking about starting over every year. It’s just so hard.”