Insight Bowl 2011: Landry Jones' Dud Will Keep Him at OU, but Is It Worth It?
The unflattering but realistic truth about the world in which we live is that it's a "what have you done for me lately?" society. This is most true in sports, where you can be the hero one day and the goat the next.
This can be seen each season during the college football bowl season in correlation with the NFL draft that follows.
Each season there is a player or two that have a great game on a national stage. Because of this, their draft stock raises dramatically. Sometimes the player just needed the big stage and other times they become fools gold for the team who drafts them too early.
There are also players like Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Landry Jones, who at one time appeared to be a first-round draft pick but has seen his stock plummet because of his poor performance in the Insight Bowl on Friday. Jones finished his team's 31-14 victory over Iowa 16-of-25 passing for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
While those numbers are not the most horrific you will see this bowl season, Jones needed a big game. After the Sooners defeated Texas A&M on Nov. 5, Jones has been on a steady decline. At that point in the season he had 28 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions.
However, Jones would throw five interceptions in the next three games but not pass for one touchdown. Because of this, he needed a big game in the Insight Bowl
While this article might seem negative, there is good news. Jones is just a junior and can return for his senior year and regain his NFL draft value.
Jones finished his junior season with 4,463 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Would it be worth the gamble for Jones to return?
On paper, those numbers are impressive even with the late season decline. However, the Sooners were a preseason No. 1 and Jones was an early Heisman favorite. Neither he nor the Sooners reached their potential.
Sooners head coach said this past week that he believed Jones would return—after the Insight bowl, it might be the best choice. This is not like Andrew Luck in 2010. Luck was a projected No. 1 pick already. Jones, however, is a fading star who needs to revive his draft stock.
Would there be risk involved? Sure. However, the difference could mean millions of dollars. If Jones returns back to Oklahoma for his senior season and back to his early season form, he could battle Matt Barley for being chose No. 1.
Critics are pointing to the lost of star wide receiver Ryan Broyles as the reason for Jones recent struggles. Citing that without Broyles, Jones would be ineffective even if he returned for his senior season.
In my opinion, it is not the players that the Sooners lost that hurt Jones, it was when they lost them. After Broyles was hurt in the Texas A&M, the Sooners coaching staff had little time to help Jones adjust to playing with Broyles gone. They had already overcome the lost of star running back Dominique Whaley earlier in the season but it finally caught up with them.
If Jones returns, the Sooners could once again be a preseason top 10 team next season. Jones will have plenty of weapons returning and could get two solid new additions.
The Sooners have two moves they could make during the next few weeks that could make them a serious national championship contender next season.
The first is convincing stud wide receiver recruit Dorial Green-Beckham to select the Sooners on signing day. Beckham is a cant-miss wide receiver who will challenge the 1,000 receiving mark as a freshman. Green-Beckham added with the players on campus will give the Sooners plenty of big play potential on offense.
Secondly, they need to bring Mike Stoops back home. Stoops were at the Sooners bowl game on the sidelines and in the locker room during the celebration. Stoops could bring the bite back to the Oklahoma defense.
Over the next few weeks you are likely to read one negative article after another about Jones. However, I got a sneaking suspicion that his story is not done with the Sooners and the final chapter is going to be pretty good.
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