Which SEC team hurt most by players leaving early for NFL?

Todd Gurley is one of 20 SEC players who are leaving school early for this spring's NFL draft. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Todd Gurley is one of 20 SEC players who are leaving school early for this spring’s NFL draft. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Todd Gurley, Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon are among the SEC underclassmen heading to the NFL.

Who among the 20 SEC players leaving early will be the toughest to replace? Which team was devastated by players leaving early?

Was it Alabama? Or Florida? Or Mississippi State, among the group of teams that lost players?

The NFL’s early entrant deadline was Jan. 15. Here’s who is leaving early or have already graduated from SEC teams.

Alabama: S Landon Collins, WR Amari Cooper, RB T.J. Yeldon

Arkansas: DL Darius Philon

Auburn: WR Sammie Coates, OL Patrick Miller

Florida: DE Dante Fowler Jr., OT D.J. Humphries, RB Matt Jones, OL Tyler Moore

Georgia: RB Todd Gurley

Kentucky: RB Braylon Heard

LSU: LB Kwon Alexander, CB Jalen Collins, DE Danielle Hunter

Mississippi State: LB Benardrick McKinney, RB Josh Robinson

Missouri: DE Shane Ray

South Carolina: WR Mike Davis

Texas A&M: RB Trey Williams (which left Gil Brandt scratching his head)

Nationally, 74 players were “granted special eligibility” for the 2015 NFL draft, down from 98 early entrants last year.

Five Florida State players are leaving early, most in the nation. Florida and USC are second with four each.

Gurley and Cooper are certainly the most talented players out of that group, but Georgia has Nick Chubb, so a replacement for Cooper might be tough for Alabama to find. Also, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin might jump to the 49ers.

Depth-wise, only one returning offensive line starter will be back for Florida after Humphries and Moore leave, so new coach Jim McElwain has a project there. Fowler is soaring up mock drafts and is projected as a top-five pick, so the Gators are losing a lot.

What do you think?


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