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NFL Notes: Number of underclassmen in 2015 NFL Draft drops to 74

A record number of undrafted underclassmen in 2014 may have dissuaded a few players from leaving school early for this year’s NFL draft.

The early-entry list includes 74 players, with an additional 10 who became eligible for the draft after notifying the NFL they had graduated.

A year ago, a record 98 players were granted special eligibility into the draft, leading to a record 36 underclassmen who went undrafted. This is the first time since 2009 the number of early-entry players dropped from the previous year.

Florida State had the most early entries with five, including quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

This year’s Heisman winner, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, was among those who became eligible after graduating. His teammate, defensive end Erik Armstead, also is leaving early.

Ohio State had no players on the early-entry list after QB Cardale Jones decided to return to school.

Mariota will be joined by the two other Heisman finalists. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin’s record-setting running back, is leaving after his junior year, as is Alabama receiver Amari Cooper.

The early-entry list included five other players who were AP first-team All-Americans: Indiana RB Tevin Coleman, Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson, Texas offensive lineman Malcom Brown, Alabama safety Landon Collins and Louisville safety Gerod Holliman.

The draft is April 30 through May 2 in Chicago.

Pro Bowl-bound

Broncos running back C.J. Anderson has been added to the Pro Bowl roster in place of injured Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell.

His addition gives the Broncos a franchise-record 11 Pro Bowlers, most in the NFL this season.

Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and Browns safety Donte Whitner were selected as replacements for New England’s Rob Gronkowski and Seattle’s Earl Thomas, with the Patriots and Seahawks headed to the Super Bowl.

And two Packers, wide receiver Randall Cobb and cornerback Sam Shields, were added to the Pro Bowl roster a day after Green Bay’s loss to Seattle in the NFC championship game.

Cobb replaces injured Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and Shields replaces Patriots CB Darrelle Revis.

Around the league

Oakland has hired Eagles QB coach Bill Musgrave as their new offensive coordinator. … Philadelphia has hired Cory Undlin to coach defensive backs and Justin Peelle to coach tight ends.


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