There’s been a lot of college QB’s debating whether or not to go to the NFL or stay in college for another year. Most of them have already made up their decision, and I’m here to tell them if they made the right move or not.
The list of underclassman is quite large this year and even more could have made the jump.
Here’s the list that are coming out early for the NFL.
Matthew Stafford (Georgia)
Mark Sanchez (USC)
Nate Davis (Ball State)
Josh Freeman (Kansas State)
And the list that very well could have come out.
Tim Tebow (Florida)
Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)
Colt McCoy (Texas)
First I’ll look at the ones who stayed.
Obviously he’s had a great career at Florida and doesn’t have anything left to accomplish at school. 2 National Championships, a Heisman Trophy and many people calling him the best player in college football history. So why would he even consider coming back? Easy, he loves being a QB. And Florida is the only team that is going to start him at QB next year (unless he transfers to a DI-AA or lower school). He is not going to be an every down QB in the league. I don’t know what position he will play; most people think he’ll be an H-Back type in the Chris Cooley mold. He’s definitely got the body type for the position, but we haven’t seen his hands, we don’t know how well he can block, so he’s a big question mark at the next level and he would not have been picked on the first day. And if you’re going to be a second day pick, it’s an easy decision to go back to school. He’ll have another great chance at a National Championship and another Heisman, so Tebow made the right move going back.
Why should he have left? He won the Heisman. He led the nation’s top offense. There are changes coming to the draft pay scale that will cost him money in the future. And his stock will never be higher than it is right now. All that said, I still think he made the right decision to stay in school. There are still some big questions surrounding Bradford that it’s better for NFL teams to find out in college than when you’re paying him tons of money. How much is Bradford going to fill out? He’s a skinny guy for an NFL QB and needs the extra year at OU to get bigger. And with the added muscle, it’s probable his arm strength will improve. And arm strength is his biggest weakness right now. He’s very accurate, and we’ve seen that be successful this year, but to be a “Face of the Franchise” QB like any team drafting him highly in the first round would want him to be, you need to have a strong arm so you can make all the throws. He’ll be a force in college next year, and will contend for the number 1 overall pick in the next draft. With QB’s, I never see there being a downside to coming back to school.
What a year. Many people argued that his team should have been in the National Championship game. He had an insane completion percentage. Seriously, insane. It was over 80% over halfway through the season. You and I couldn’t complete 80% against air and he did it against some good teams, including a nice tidy 80% against eventual National Championship contender Oklahoma. He was running away with the Heisman trophy before the last second loss to Texas Tech. That TT game was without a doubt his worst game of the year. He only completed a measly 58% of his passes. Which is still pretty good. I’d take a 58% completion percentage out of my team’s NFL QB. So obviously Colt has reason’s to stay. He’s got another chance at a National Championship, he’s got another chance to win the Heisman, and he’s got another chance to knock off OU. And he’s also got the same questions around his pro career as Tebow. McCoy is a better suited to be a NFL QB, but he’s also a good runner. I don’t think he’ll have to change positions in the pros but it is a possibility. Then you have to add in the fact that the Pro QB he most resembles is Vince Young, who hasn’t exactly torn the league up. Young and McCoy both played for Texas in the same system, so it’s a fair assessment to make and it’s not exactly kind to McCoy. McCoy could have been considered in the first round, but his lack of arm strength and lack of experience under center would have hurt his stock. And he made the right choice.
Those are the main guys who could have came out, but decided against it. The list of players who decided to come out is impressive still. I’ll be doing these in presumed order of NFL success.
He had things left to do at Georgia. They were supposed to be a great team this year, but they played badly most of the year. Most of that can be linked to losing Sturdivant in the preseason. That was a huge loss for the team, and it crippled the running game and hindered the pass protection. That being said, Stafford still played well this year. Almost 3500 yards, 25 TD’s. So he was no bum out there. His completion percentage has gone up every year that he’s been a starter, jumping to 61% this year. No, that’s not great. Not when you had guys like Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford completing 80% of their passes this year. But the big thing that in my mind makes him ready is the fact that he’s been starting. He was a 3 year starter for Georgia in the SEC which is known for defense. He’s lined up against some good D’s and done some nice things against them. None of those D’s hold a candle to NFL D’s but it’s a good start for him. Add in the fact that he’s got the best physical tools of any QB in the draft, and this was an easy choice for him to head to the Pro’s. He’ll be a leading candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year if he goes anywhere other than Detroit.
He had a so-so year. He started out poorly mostly because of a knee injury, but down the stretch he was fantastic and played great in the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl against PSU is probably the sole reason he decided to come out this year. He’s got talent, that’s not the question, but myself and many others are questioning how that talent will work in the NFL. He’s got a big arm. That will have no problem adjusting to the league. It will be his decision making and accuracy that will be put to the test. He was only a starter for a little more than a year and was only a really successful for half of that time. He’s got the arm and the mental aspect should develop with time. Anyone who drafts him should without a doubt give him a year behind someone else. I think in time he’ll develop into a solid Pro QB and could eventually be considered the best QB to come out of USC under Pete Carroll. But for now, he should have stayed in school for another year and worked on accuracy, reading defenses and just getting more playing time. That team will be stacked once again next year, and could have easily contended for a National Championship.
Another in the line of MAC QB’s. Nate Davis is a bit of an unknown outside of college football, but I’ll tell you this, he’s got a big arm. He’s probably got the strongest arm in the draft. And while that doesn’t mean instant pro success, it does mean someone will take a shot on you. And that’s the main thing I think makes this a good decision for him. The NFL right now is in a scary place. We’re looking at a potential lock out in 2011, an uncapped year in 2010, and big changes to the financial side of the league. Davis is looking to take advantage of the current landscape. He’ll have a savvy agent who should know that the salary cap will probably be lifted in the coming year and Davis should be able to get a fairly large contract with a big back end. And as the 3rd or 4th ranked QB this year, his pay day will be generally better than if he tried to come out next year behind the likes of Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy and many more. Physically, Davis can play in the NFL. And previous MAC QB’s have shown he’ll have the ability to succeed in the NFL with the mental side. Don’t tell anyone, but I think Davis is going to be one of the big sleepers of the second round
I know what you’re thinking, “Who?” Here’s the first thing that will strike you. He’s a big boy. Listed at 6’5″ 250, he’s got prototypical size for an NFL QB. And uses that size well. He’s got the humorous “laser, rocket arm” that was made famous in the Peyton Manning commercial, but that is a bit of a reach. It’d definitely a rocket, but the laser isn’t quite as accurate. He’s definitely no Peyton. His great size and arm strength will get him drafted a lot like Davis, but Davis is a much better QB. There are questions about Freeman’s leadership and decision making. But I keep coming back to it, he’s got great arm strength and that will get him looked at as early as late first round, but he’ll probably be a mid-second round pick because he has great potential. He’s a good player, who could develop into a great player, but it’s much more likely he’ll be a disappointment for whatever team takes a chance on him. Even with that, there’s a coaching change at Kansas State, so he probably wouldn’t have the best year had he gone back and his stock could go higher, but it’s pretty good right now, and could sky-rocket with some good workouts, which he will most definitely have.
Wow, I just agreed with almost everyone’s choice. Either that means these guys are getting good advice or I’m a complete idiot. I’m going to go with the good advice idea for now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel dirty about agreeing with them all.
Tags: NCAA Football, NFL Draft, Oklahoma, Texas, USC