Toughest personnel voids to fill
Texas A&M, Stanford among teams that will struggle to replace key departures
For the second year in a row, there are a record number of collegiate players declaring early for the NFL draft.
Despite the large number of early entrants to the draft, there are more than a few programs losing key starters -- both underclassmen and seniors heading for the pro ranks -- that should be able to absorb the defection with little loss or, in some situations, might actually see an improvement in production thanks to standout returning players or top recruits.
However, for teams that don't have such favorable personnel circumstances, losing high-caliber starters will be very hard to overcome.
Here are four situations that fit this description.
Departing player: DL Damontre Moore
Moore is one of those rare players who can post impactful numbers in almost any situation. He ranked second on the team in sacks and first in tackles for loss (TFL) in 2011 while racking up 10 starts as a "Joker" linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, and then ranked first in sacks and TFL in 2012 after moving to defensive end in a 4-3 alignment. This versatility led to but one of the four No. 1 rankings in his Scouts Inc. analysis, and is a big reason why he ranks first in their defensive end rankings (and third overall).
To read more from KC Joyner on teams with the toughest personnel voids to fill, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Ex-Penn State QB Bench transferring to USF
- Host Finebaum joining SEC Network, ESPN
- Ex-PSU prez seeks dismissal of criminal charges
- Sims won't return to Houston for senior season
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CFB content
Expert Takes• Insider: Can Clemson win it all? | Louisville
• Kiper: Top prospects for 2014, by position
• Haney: CFB's top 10 teams based on talent
• Kiper: Top QB prospects for 2014 | RBs | WRs
• Haney: Make-or-break QB prospect scenarios
Post-spring projections• Pac-12: Oregon, Stanford, USC on top
• ACC: Can Clemson win the league title?
• SEC: Bama, South Carolina early favorites
• Big Ten: Surprise winner in Legends
• Big 12: Two-team race for first place
RecruitingNation• Michigan No. 1 in 2014 class rankings
• Luginbill: Answering mailbag questions
• Crabtree: Urban recruits popular draft picks
• Notre Dame, Boise State trending up
• Recruiting updates for Pac-12 teams
• Recruiting updates for Big Ten teams
• Recruiting updates for SEC teams
• Recruiting updates for ACC teams
• Recruiting updates for Big East teams
• Recruiting updates for Big 12 teams
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Travis Haney's blog
Analysis and buzz from around the nation