2013 NFL Draft: Star Juniors Who Should Stay in School

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIDecember 3, 2012

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 06: Wide receiver Keenan Allen #21 of the California Golden Bears celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at California Memorial Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

With the college season winding down, and the 2013 NFL draft looming, plenty of juniors have major decisions to make. Whether you're the top wideout prospect, or a potential No. 1 pick, the decision to stay or go is still a big one.

Below we're profiling four star juniors who could be making the right move by forgoing the NFL draft for another year.

All of these guys have first-round potential, but could still use some boost to their draft stock.


Keenan Allen, WR, California

Keenan Allen could enter the 2013 draft as one of the best wide receiving prospects.

But the problem Allen is facing is that he was hurt for the final stretch of the season, and as a result he only played in nine games for Cal. His numbers just don't hold up against other wide receiving prospects.

While Tavon Austin was accumulating 1,259 yards, and DeAndre Hopkins was averaging 17.6 yards per catch, Allen finished his season with just 737 yards (12.1 per catch) and six touchdowns.

With a coaching change in Cal, a healthy Allen could be a more productive player in a better system—no doubt raising his stock.


Tyrann Mathieu, DB, DNP

What's the best way to kill your stock?

Leave your college program, enter rehab, get arrested on drug related charges, miss the entire college football year and then decide to enter the draft.

It seems crazy, but it's the path former LSU start Tyrann Mathieu is apparently planning to take.

I just don't understand this decision by Mathieu. Character issues can destroy a player's draft stock (just ask Vontaze Burfict), and that's for players who actually played before entering the draft.

It's bad enough that Mathieu has a steady list of issues, but to enter the draft without any 2012 playing time seems like draft stock suicide.

It would be much smarter for Mathieu to enroll at a new university and prove he's still got it.


Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

This one almost goes without saying.

I was shocked when I read that Marcus Lattimore still plans to enter the 2013 draft. After his gruesome season-ending injury, no one even knew if he had a career left. Now he wants to jump straight to the NFL?

Lattimore was having a fantastic season (662 yards rushing, 4.6 yards per carry, 11 touchdowns) before being sidelined. And chances were he could have entered the draft as the top running back.

But now his status is a complete unknown, and he'll almost certainly be knocked out of the top rounds.

It would seem much smarter for Lattimore to return to school, get healthy and improve his stock for next year.


Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

It seems crazy for a potential No. 1 pick to forgo the NFL for another year, but it could be the best thing for Barkevious Mingo.

Mingo is a great player, but he's actually had a somewhat disappointing 2012.

Mingo ranks out of the top ten in tackles for loss and sacks in the SEC. He didn't even top the charts on his own team, ranking third in sacks (4.0) and fifth in TFL (5.5) for the Tigers.

In terms of the major defensive stats, Mingo is well behind teammate Sam Montgomery—who's also a junior expected to head for the draft.

With standout teammates expected to enter the draft (Montgomery and Eric Reid) Mingo could be a lone star for LSU in 2013.

That extra year at college would also help him get his stats to where a No. 1 pick's should be.


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