Clemson defensive backs Mackensie Alexander, left, and TJ Green look at a photo during the NFL combine. Both are early-entry draft candidates. (Michael Conroy)

The 96 underclassmen declaring early for the 2016 NFL draft were a significant jump from the previous class, and just two shy of the record set in 2014. Only 74 underclassmen declared in 2015.

The additional underclassmen will add depth in the later rounds, particularly at certain positions of need for the Washington Redskins, but general manager Scot McCloughan will be cautious with some of the non-seniors.

“That plays into it, too, but that’s scary,” McCloughan said of the rise in underclassmen at the NFL Combine last week. “That’s why it’s so important to be here and get measurables, get the medical, get the interview stuff with the juniors, the underclassmen. But it’s a strong draft, very strong.”

McCloughan wasn’t sure if the number of underclassmen was a positive or negative, but he only selected one underclassman last year with his 10 picks – running back Matt Jones in the third round.

“From my standpoint, we’re going to scout them this year, we’re going to scout them next year,” McCloughan said. “Either way it’s the same. But if a guy’s an even junior or redshirt sophomore and a senior, I’d take the senior, a guy that fulfilled his commitment. But still, it’s understandable these underclassmen are really talented guys.”

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