Chris Wells has announced that he will enter the NFL draft today, as Adam Rittenberg of ESPN reports.
Many Buckeye fans will lament his departure because of his role in the Buckeye offense, namely being the offense. While he plays such a huge role in the Buckeye offense, with a young QB and not much speed on the outside, it would be easy for Tressel to try to convince him to stay.
However, Tressel is well known for putting the long-term needs of his players ahead of the short-term needs of the team.
His policy is well-known of encouraging players who are projected as first-round picks to leave early and pursue their fortunes. In the case of Chris Wells, I could not agree more.
First let us establish how talented this kid really is. Wells is the physically ideal running back at 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds with homerun speed, a spin move and a nasty stiff arm.
In his three seasons, his first spent splitting carries with Antonio Pittman and his third season missing three games due to injury, he has outgained other top round picks like Shonn Greene, Kendall Hunter, Glen Coffee, and Knowshon Moreno.
The only thing stopping this 20-year-old running machine is his own body. Human beings are not meant to be his size and as fast and agile as he is.
Chronic foot and lower body problems follow larger athletes, and Chris Wells may have precious few full seasons of football in him.
Running back is the most damaging position in football and have the shortest average careers in a league were the total average career lasts 3.5 seasons. The hits and beatings these athletes take mean that almost any talented RB should be encouraged to leave when they are a junior to have as much time as possible to play in the NFL.
With these considerations, combined with his injury concerns, Wells would be extremely ill-advised to stay in the NCAA. That said, I lived on a dorm floor with him and played NCAA 07 with him quite a bit (beat him too, but now my shameless plug is done), and found that he is an absolutely fantastic person and wish all the best at the next level.
I see him as too injury-prone to be a featured back, but he is the ideal "Thunder"-type runner for the Two-Headed Monster RB systems spreading across the NFL. Watch for a team with one established speed like the Chargers, Bills, or possibly the Steelers to add Chris Wells to hopeful gain the success the two back system has gained for the Titans or Panthers.
The Redskins certianly could use Wells as well to ease the load on Portis or the Bears with Forte. Wells is coming into the league at the perfect time, ten years ago he certianly would have dropped because of injury concerns, but the two back system is taking over the NFL again and he will fit this perfectly.