CFB Players Who Should Have Gone Back to School Instead of the NFL
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In 2013, 74 underclassmen, a record number, flocked to the NFL draft.
While that decision was clearly the right one for players chosen early in the draft, it may well have been the wrong one for those who were picked later or were forced to sign as free agents.
Several of those players clearly could have benefited by spending at least one more season in the college ranks.
Tennessee QB Tyler Bray
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Big arm with potential.
After the conclusion of the 2012 season, that phrase perfectly fit Tennessee's Tyler Bray.
Despite a 5-7 record, the Vols' junior quarterback threw for a career-high 3,612 passing yards and 34 touchdowns, which was a major leap in production from the year before.
With an offense that features one of the highest-quality lines in the game, Bray would have most likely eclipsed those numbers this fall. He was just getting started, despite the loss of receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, who each declared early for the draft.
As of early August, Bray, an undrafted free agent, was tabbed as the Kansas City Chiefs' No. 3 quarterback behind backup Chase Daniel and starter Alex Smith.
Arkansas RB Knile Davis
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In 2010, Knile Davis tore up the SEC with a lethal ground game. In 2011, he fell victim to injury in fall practice. And as a junior in 2012, the Arkansas running back simply didn't live up to past performances, rushing for a paltry 377 yards.
However, that limited production didn't stop the Kansas City Chiefs from taking him in the third round of the 2013 draft.
Davis should have stayed in college and worked with new coach Bret Bielema, who's helped mold great running backs at Wisconsin.
But the Chiefs spent the 96th pick to get him, following one questionable decision with another.
Michigan State TE Dion Sims
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Originally recruited to play basketball and football, Dion Sims' athletic career at Michigan State never reached its projected heights.
He had a respectable junior year, his first as a starter, by catching 36 passes for 475 and two touchdowns.
At 6'5" and about 282 pounds, he has an NFL body. His skill set, though, isn't quite there yet. Sims has to improve adjusting on the fly and learn to use his bulky frame to his full advantage.
However, the fourth-round pick has reportedly impressed the Miami Dolphins by filling a need in an otherwise woeful offense. Still, his contributions may come sparingly this season; he's listed as the No. 4 tight end on the depth chart.
Washington State WR Marquess Wilson
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Prior to his departure from Washington State, Marquess Wilson was well on his way to becoming one of the top receivers in the Pac-12.
As a junior, Wilson finished No. 10 in the league in receiving yards with 813. That came after he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his two first seasons. However, a clash with head coach Mike Leach last season over his treatment of the players resulted in Wilson being benched for three games and may have hastened his departure from Pullman.
Wilson was a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Bears. According to Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago, he heads into the preseason as a third-teamer.
His spot on the depth chart isn't uncommon for a rookie, but Wilson would have greatly benefited from another year in college.
LSU OT Chris Faulk
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Despite not seeing the field in 2012, Chris Faulk rolled the dice on his football future by entering the 2013 NFL draft.
That gamble proved shaky, as he went undrafted prior to being signed by the Cleveland Browns. Faulk was thought of as one of the best interior linemen in college, but a knee injury kept him from showing off that skill this past fall.
Another stellar year for Faulk with LSU, a national power, would have increased his draft stock.
He's listed as the Browns' No. 4 left tackle, according to ESPN.
Hawaii CB Mike Edwards
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Judging by NFL.com's scouting report of Mike Edwards, there are a lot of things that the former Hawaii corner can't do.
That's probably why he went undrafted—he needed another year to hone his skills with the Warriors. In 2012, he was one of the Mountain West's top corners.
But that was the Mountain West.
Now signed with the New York Jets, Edwards is competing with 11 defensive backs for playing time. He's listed as a reserve at the position where rookie Dee Milliner of Alabama is slated to start.
Oklahoma LB Tom Wort
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Tom Wort was a steady linebacker for Oklahoma, but his future in the NFL may not be as promising.
According to his NFL draft profile, at 6'0" and 235 pounds, Wort is a 'tweener. Instead of staying another year with the Sooners, he decided to test his luck in the undrafted free agent pool. Adding insult to injury, he was signed by the Tennessee Titans but was waived in May after failing a physical.
LSU RB Michael Ford
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Michael Ford was projected to be a late-round pick, which suggests that he could have done himself a favor by staying at LSU.
However, the Tigers' talent in the backfield may have encouraged him to make the leap to the NFL. As a sophomore, Ford had 127 carries. As a junior in 2012, that number dwindled to 71.
Ford wasn't drafted but was signed by the Chicago Bears. He's the No. 4 running back.
Arkansas OL Alvin Bailey
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An All-American campaign would have propelled Alvin Bailey up draft boards, right?
Despite earning national accolades and receiving an All-SEC second-team nod, Bailey's name wasn't called during the 2013 NFL draft. In May, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks. He may not make the 53-man roster.
At 6'5" and 312 pounds, Bailey has physical size in his corner. But he lacks quickness and technique. Staying with the Razorbacks would have allowed him to fine-tune his skill set.
Eastern Washington QB Kyle Padron
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Kyle Padron wanted a new lease on football, so he transferred from Southern Methodist to Eastern Washington.
He found what he was seeking, as the Eagles made an FCS semifinal appearance behind 2,491 yards and 17 touchdowns from their quarterback.
However, Padron left a lot to be desired. Riddled with injuries, his collegiate career didn't appear to be headed to the pro level. An undrafted free agent, Padron signed with the Oakland Raiders. He was later waived.
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