Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Leaving Early for the Draft....When is the Right Time to Go?

Every year the NFL draft is filled with Juniors who surpass their senior season for a chance to play at the top. Some players are absolutely ready for the jump to the NFL and are able to make a difference in their first season. Other players leave before they are ready and their career's in the NFL never seem to get on track. 2007 is shaping up to be another great draft as many underclassmen have already decided that the NFL is their goal. These young men do not feel that their senior seasons will help them in any way possible. However making this decision is tough to say the least. For some this decision turns out to be the best decision ever made while others often wish they would have just stayed for one more season. To better understand the difficulties with respect to making a decision like this we should take a look at a few players that are close to home.

During the 2006 season Paul Williams took a step back with respect to progress on the college level. While it is true he has the physical prospects to be an NFL force he did not show this during his senior year. If Williams had left after his junior year he would have been drafted much higher than he will this season. Marcus McCauley is going through the same process right now. His junior year bordered on phenomenal. He is still touted as a great prospect at the corner position but it is obvious that his status has taken a hit because he returned for his senior season. There is a lot to be said about being loyal to your school and the football program. Many juniors honor their college by coming back because that college took a chance on them and offered them a scholarship when many others wouldn't. However, if this is going to diminish your chances of making more money on the big stage the right choice might be to forego your senior season. That is of course unless you are Colt Brennan.

Colt Brennan declared two days ago that he is going to enter the NFL draft. While I can see why he believes he is ready I do not think this is the right choice. Colt Brennan is an outstanding college QB. He makes the throws when he has to and stands in there and takes a hit more often than not because Hawaii runs the run and shoot leaving the QB open for punishment. What people don't often realize is Colt Brennan's offense is one of short passing routes. Very rarely does Brennan throw the ball downfield. Instead Hawaii's offense is based upon the eight to ten yard route over the middle. In the NFL only one offense operates under this same system and that is Houston. Although they do not operate with the run and shoot Houston does not throw the ball downfield either. At the same time Brennan is in a gimmick offense in the college game. He plays in a system where nearly every single QB is successful regardless of how talented they truly are. Chang was a decent QB but there is no way a guy like Chang has the NCAA career passing yardage record for another team. In fact Chang would not have started had he played for many other college football teams. If Brennan were to stay for his senior year he would be coming back to a very strong Hawaii team. The Bows get both Fresno and Boise at home this season and could possibly win the WAC. At the same time Brennan will be a Heisman candidate coming off of what he did in 2006. If he shows that he can sustain the big numbers he did in 06' his draft stock will skyrocket. Right now Brennan is too small and has had one good season in the Hawaii offense. The NFL knows about Hawaii's system and is apprehensive to draft a QB who has gone through Hawaii and rightfully so. Here is a list of the early entries through today:

Jon Abbate Wake Forest
Jamaal Anderson Arkansas
Jon Beason Miami
Ahmad Bradshaw Marshall
Alan Branch Michigan
Colt Brennan Hawaii
Michael Bush Louisville
C.J. Gaddis Clemson
Ted Ginn Jr. Ohio State
Anthony Gonzalez Ohio State
Chris Henry Arizona
Chris Houston Arkansas
Brandon Jackson Nebraska
Dwayne Jarrett USC
Calvin Johnson Georgia Tech
Charles Johnson Georgia
Rory Johnson Mississippi
Marshawn Lynch California
Robert Meachem Tennessee
Zach Miller Arizona State
Jarvis Moss Florida
Reggie Nelson Florida
Greg Olsen Miami
Adrian Peterson Oklahoma
Antonio Pittman Ohio State
Maurice Price Charleston Southern
Darrelle Revis Pittsburgh
Sidney Rice South Carolina
JaMarcus Russell LSU
Ryan Smith Florida
Luke Smith-Anderson Idaho
Lawrence Timmons Florida State
Darius Walker Notre Dame
Danny Ware Georgia
Dwayne Wright Fresno State
Eric Wright UNLV

After looking over this list you can see there are plenty of players who could benefit from returning their senior season. At the same time you can see there are players who look to be absolutely ready to play in the NFL. Ted Ginn Jr. Has averaged four catches a game over his career. He looks to be a player with all of the potential but has very little stats to back it up. Ginn may be a player who could benefit from having a monster senior year. However, since he is projected to go high there is virtually no reason for him to return.

As I stated earlier the NFL draft is a guessing game. Matt Leinart returned for his senior year and dropped to #10 in the draft. Had he come out as a Junior he would have been the #1 pick. Leinart lost millions by returning to school, but was given the opportunity to win another championship. As you can also see Dwayne Wright is on the early entry list. While he could return for a senior year it makes no sense for him to do so. Wright has made himself into a late first day pick and will be looked at as a power back much like Duckett was in the NFL. Many of these players may not be ready to play in the NFL and we will find that out during the 2007 NFL season. However, it is their right to choose to play in the NFL and if players like Brennan make the jump they will have a tough time adapting to a much faster and stronger league.


Anonymous said...

I think Leinart's example may worry a lot of college qb's. Brennan may believe that he has shown the best he has, and does not think his senior year will yield improvement. If so, he might as well go now, and roll the dice.

I certainly think he is not much more than a mid-talent college player who is well coached in a perfect-for-a-quarterback offensive scheme.

We shall see.

Steve Burnes

nsc said...

I have to say I dont think Brennan is going to be drafted any earlier than the third round. I know I have heard radio shows say he could be a first rounder, but I must be missing something. Brennan has a good arm, do not get me wrong. However there is no possible way his arm outshines the other QB's coming out. If Brennan decides to leave he is lucky Brohm isn't leaving because Brohm would go ahead of him as well

Political.Asylum said...

The NFL draft is a crapshoot. You'll almost always get at least an average player...the problem is are yo going to eat up half the salary cap only to find that out a few years down the road. At least, that's what we think over at the Sarcastic Idiocy Forum.

Anonymous said...

A system QB? I really think you all need to rethink your assessment of Colt Brennan. Look at his other stats (not the passing yards) such as completion percentage and QB rating. Nobody, NOT EVEN A SYSTEM QB, has done what he has done there. I believe he is a one of a kind player, stuck in an offense that comes with the "system" label. He's certainly better than any QB Fresno State has EVER had (don't even think of Carr, who was coached by the biggest system QB producer, Jeff Tedford), so please don't talk down on him. Do some research befor eyou speak. And one more thing, it's not the "Bows" anymore, its the Warriors. Be more correct, please...