Croft, 23, has scored five tries in 21 appearances for Leicester Tigers and been a key part of the team that has reached the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup semi-finals.
The Tigers flanker has also won nine caps for England this season, winning the man-of-the-match award for his display in the 34-10 victory over France at Twickenham.
He is up against Steffon Armitage (London Irish), Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints) and Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins) for the PRA Norman Broadbent Young Player of the Year Award.
Foden is also on the shortlist for the PRA Computacenter Players’ Player of the Year Award alongside Delon Armitage (London Irish), Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Sale Sharks), Seilala Mapusua (London Irish) and Tom May (Newcastle Falcons).
The winners will be announced at the PRA Computacenter Rugby Players’ Awards Dinner on May 13.