NFL Draft 2012: Players Who'd Be Better off Staying in School
College football is over, and it's time to look towards the NFL draft.
Each year, many underclassmen declare to head to the draft early. Some of them are no-brainers, like Boston College's Luke Kuechly. Others made much less of an impact at their school and would simply be better served to wait a year before making the leap to the pros.
Let's take a look at some of this year's former student athletes who should have stayed in school.
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Quarterback, Arizona State
Brock Osweiler is quite the sight on the football field—he's 6'8" and he doesn't throw over-the-top. He is also pretty mobile for being so tall.
But he's not ready for the NFL.
He struggled at Arizona State in just over a season as starting quarterback with a 7-8 record in 2011. His biggest problem was an inability to read the defense as he got sacked 28 times, but his offensive line didn't help much either.
Osweiler most likely wants out of Tempe because his offensive coordinator is leaving for UCLA, but it's a bad choice. With another season in the desert, he could hone his craft and be a better prospect in 2013.
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Running Back, Nevada
Mike Ball was Nevada's leading rusher with 740 yards and three touchdowns through the various eight games that he played in before he got dismissed from the team for repeatedly violating team rules.
With a year of eligibility left, he has now decided to leave to the NFL.
Before the 2011 season, he had never rushed for over 300 yards. He would have gone for over 1,000 yards had he played in every game for Nevada but that still doesn't make him a top prospect. Nevada's leading kick returner should have sought out a non-Division I school to attend and rebuild his image.
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Wide Receiver, Miami
Tommy Streeter had five career catches heading into 2011. He also didn't start the first five games of the 2011 season.
That's not a knock on him, it's just a fact that he doesn't have a lot of experience.
He wound up leading the Hurricanes with 46 catches, 811 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. But like I said, he hasn't really gotten a lot of playing time at the U. It would make for sense for him to stay another season to prove that he is the real deal and try to secure his status as a first-round pick.
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Defensive End, North Carolina
Donte Paige-Moss was highly thought of heading into the 2011 college football season thanks to his size, athleticism and a great 2010 season.
But in 2011, Paige-Moss didn't even start a game. His tackles dropped from 49 to 29 and recorded 5.5 less sacks than in 2010. And to top it all off, he tore the ACL in his right knee during the Tar Heels' bowl game.
So naturally, he'll get healthy and possibly even redshirt to save his eligibility. Then he can make a better impression on NFL scouts when the time comes.
What's that? Oh. Never mind, Paige-Moss is headed to the NFL.
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Left Tackle, USC
Because Matt Kalil is already so good, this selection is a bit of a stretch, I know. But this goes beyond individual skill and achievements.
USC is going to be one of the favorites to play for a national title in 2012—and that's without Kalil protecting quarterback Matt Barkley.
Now imagine how good the Trojans would be if Kalil had elected to stay for his senior season, just like Barkley did.
That's a scary thought.
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Defensive Tackle, Miami
Marcus Forston has battled with injuries during his career at Miami—in 2009 he received a medical redshirt for a shoulder injury and this season, he only played in three games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
He still has a full season of eligibility left and should take advantage of it, using it to show scouts that he is ready for the NFL. Instead, he now has to prove it to them at the combine.
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Linebacker, Arizona State
Vontaze Burfict will likely be drafted in the middle of the first round in April because the talent is there.
But in 2011, the numbers disappeared.
Burfict was electric in 2010, striking fear in the eyes of any and all of his opponents. But he didn't produce the same way in 2011.
Not only that, but he is a headcase. Burfict will be drafted and expected to produce immediately, no matter where he goes.
But is emotionally ready for the NFL? I don't think so.