Andrew Luck of Stanford and the Aftermath of Not Entering the NFL Draft

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Andrew Luck of Stanford and the Aftermath of Not Entering the NFL Draft
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Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck had a fantastic game against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl in Miami. He threw for four TD passes in a 40-12 win.

Luck led the Cardinal to a 12-1 season, with their only loss coming on the road in Eugene at the University of Oregon.  

The Stanford quarterback was expected to come out and enter the NFL draft. He was projected as the "can't miss" prospect for this decade. Nonetheless, Luck decided to stay at Stanford for his redshirt junior season.

If Luck had left, the Carolina Panthers would likely have been his destination. 

Luck cited that he wanted to enjoy the college football experience and work toward his degree in architectural design. 

His statement was, "I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter in 2012." 

Then his head coach Jim Harbaugh signed a five-year, $25 million deal to coach the San Francisco 49ers.

The great thing is that Luck came in with a strong recruiting class, and coming back will help recruits commit quicker, even with Harbaugh exiting. Stanford will be as good as, if not better than, it was last season. Stanford will be expected to have a top 10 recruiting class with Luck returning. 

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Condeleeza Rice and Andrew Luck

I also think it will be great for Luck to stay another year and get comfortable with the pro offensive systems that it takes most other quarterbacks a while to learn. The only issue now becomes Stanford hiring a quality coach that has a pro-style system. The Pac-10 conference should be competitive next season and help Luck grow toward the NFL. 

The upside to all this is Luck's recent example for his decision in following the footsteps of St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford. Bradford ultimately decided to stay at Oklahoma after winning the Heisman Trophy and getting to the BCS National Championship Game. 

While Bradford was injured for the majority of the season, not contending for a national championship and only playing two games, he still went first overall in the NFL draft. 

In addition to Bradford, several of his teammates stayed, including DT Gerald McCoy, T Trent Williams and TE Jermaine Gresham. The extra year did not hurt their money at all.

This was the turnout of the first round of the NFL draft of the players that stayed an extra year, according to NFL Network Insiders Jason La Canfora and Michael Lombardi:

 

Pk

 

Player

 

Pos.

 

Team

 

Status

 

Contract 

1. Sam Bradford QB St. Louis Signed Six years, $78 million ($50M guaranteed)
2. Ndamukong Suh DT Detroit Signed Five years, $68 million ($40M guaranteed)
3. Gerald McCoy DT Tampa Bay Signed Five years, $63 million ($35M guaranteed)
4. Trent Williams OT Washington Signed Six years, $60 million ($36.75M guaranteed) 
5. Eric Berry SS Kansas City Signed Six years, $60 million ($34M guaranteed)
6. Russell Okung OT Seattle Signed Six years, $46.5 million ($29.5M guaranteed)
7. Joe Haden CB Cleveland Signed Five years, $50M million ($26M guaranteed)
8. Rolando McClain LB Oakland Signed Five years, $40 million ($23M guaranteed)
9. C.J. Spiller RB Buffalo Signed Five years, $37 million ($20.8M guaranteed)
10. Tyson Alualu DE Jacksonville Signed Five years, $28 million ($17.5M guaranteed)
11. Anthony Davis OT San Francisco Signed Five years, $26.5 million ($16M guaranteed)
12. Ryan Mathews RB San Diego Signed Five years, $25.65 million ($15M guaranteed)
13. Brandon Graham DE Philadelphia Signed Five years, $22 million ($14M guaranteed)
14. Earl Thomas SS Seattle Signed Five years, $21.1 million ($12.32M guaranteed)
15. Jason Pierre-Paul DE N.Y. Giants Signed Five years, $20.05 million ($11.629M guaranteed)
16. Derrick Morgan DE Tennessee Signed Five years (financial terms undisclosed)
17. Mike Iupati G San Francisco Signed Five years, $18.25 million ($10.8M guaranteed)
18. Maurkice Pouncey C Pittsburgh Signed Five years (financial terms undisclosed)
19. Sean Witherspoon LB Atlanta Signed Five years, $17.5 million ($10.5M guaranteed)
20. Kareem Jackson CB Houston Signed Five years, $16.3 million ($13.35M guaranteed)
21. Jermaine Gresham TE Cincinnati Signed Five years $15.8 million ($9.6M guaranteed)
22. Demaryius Thomas WR Denver Signed Five years, $15.5 million ($9.35M guaranteed)
23. Bryan Bulaga OT Green Bay Signed Five years, $14.75 million ($8.76M guaranteed)
24. Dez Bryant WR Dallas Signed Five years, $11.8 million ($8.3M guaranteed)
25. Tim Tebow QB Denver Signed Five years, $11.25 million ($8.7M guaranteed)
26. Dan Williams DT Arizona Signed Five years, $13.2 million ($8M guaranteed)
27. Devin McCourty CB New England Signed Five years, $13.2 million ($7.825M guaranteed)
28. Jared Odrick DT Miami Signed Five years, $13.07 million ($7.13M guaranteed)
29. Kyle Wilson CB N.Y. Jets Signed Five years, $13 million ($7M guaranteed)
30. Jahvid Best RB Detroit Signed Five years, $12.7 million ($7.1M guaranteed)
31. Jerry Hughes DE Indianapolis Signed Five years, $12.67 million ($7M guaranteed)
32. Patrick Robinson CB New Orleans Signed Five years, $12.25 million ($7M guaranteed)
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Sam Bradford

 

Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy and Jermaine Gresham still had high paydays from the NFL draft when they could have exited college football. While staying in school hurt Matt Leinart after winning the Heisman, I do not expect the same from Luck because he has a lot more talent than Leinart. 

The only thing that might hurt Luck's money is the current NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Luck might face a decline in money with the NFL considering using the rookie pay scale wages that were implemented by the NBA. The veterans do not want a rookie making millions of dollars without playing a down. 

Luck will lose well between $40 million and $50 million guaranteed. He potentially could lose out on more because of his tag as "the sure thing."  

Luck not entering the NFL draft will certainly boost Blaine Gabbert, Marcell Dareus, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett. 

Overall, I think Luck made the right choice because he does not want to get signed and have to sit through the labor discussions. Many have questioned Luck not leaving, but I think it's a great move because of the CBA uncertainty. I also think that it'd be nice to sit through another season to see if there's another option better than the Carolina Panthers. 

Luck will definitely be a great NFL player. He has the physical tools and knows how to run the pro offense, so expect him either way to get a big contract in the NFL. 

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