Hello Followers. Hope you’re having a great week.
Today, I continue my solo album-esque series called “Losing Your Lunch.” The name of the game: Write as much nonsense as possible in 20 minutes, paste it onto the Penguin (Bloguin) Platform….
And fire the stuff into cyberspace…
Today, I take a quick peak at a current football issue that should be instructive to all of us moving forward. Read on.
Followers, when it comes to WSU, one thing is clear: Whenever we have an underclassmen who has a really great Junior year, they head to the Pros. We saw it first with Rosey—who went #1 in the 1989 Supplemental Draft. From there, Bledsoe and Leaf followed.
Two years back, Klay Thompson took his league scoring title to becoming a Lottery Pick in the NBA draft.
And while the jury is still out on how good that 1995 team might have been had Bledsoe stayed, I think there’s little doubt as to how good Ken Bone’s Cougars would have been last year had Klay (and probably Casto) stayed to play along with a Brock Motum kid that was ready to break out. They would have danced.
And really, that’s kind of where the trap comes in: When a star player’s “big decision” coincides with a returning nucleus of players who figure to be pretty darn good. Whenever such an event occurs, we all hear virtually the same talking points from the home fan base.
“(insert name) just isn’t ready yet for the next level.”
“(insert name) draft stock will only improve with another year of seasoning.”
“If (insert name) cares more about his school than himself, he’ll stay.”
“(insert name) needs to understand that you’re only in college once. The pros will always be there.”
Over the past few years, we’ve seen these same types of lines/arguments come up in spades when it comes to underclassmen quarterbacks--such as when Jake Locker decided to stay for his senior year when leaving after his junior year would have made him a top 3 pick (many had him slated as #1).
While Locker wound up being taken with the 8th pick in the 1st round the next year, his decision to stay meant that he entered the league under a different collective bargaining agreement. The result: Jake lost between 20 and 40 MILLION dollars because he stayed. And while Jake says that the money doesn’t matter to him, the “new economy” coupled with what we’re seeing about the mental and brain health of football players suggests the money should have mattered. In fact, it should have mattered a lot.
And now we are seeing the same type of deal with a Mr. Matt Barkley.
As announced yesterday, Barkley’s injured shoulder has rendered him unable to participate in the NFL combine. For those of you who don’t remember, Barkley was slated as a top 3 pick last year. Now, following a disappointing and injury plagued season—one which saw the Trojans begin the year ranked 1 and finish unranked—Barkley looks like a late first round pick AT BEST. Most think he’s second round material. Again, MILLIONS of dollars have potentially been lost to him and his family as a result of his decision to “enjoy the college experience” for one more year.
The conclusion in all of this is simple: Those who are ready to jump to the pros need to do so as soon as they are able. Coaches should support that and so should fans. I’ve said before that I thought it was a crime when Sark and Kiffin got up there and claimed that their kids were making good decisions, when in fact, the decisions they were making were risky at best, catostrophic at worst.
So, followers, if for some reason Mr. Conor Halliday goes out and throws for 5,000 yards during his junior campaign in Mike Leach's Air Raid, there will be many out there who will look at our roster, the number of returning players, and will beseech him to return for what could be a legendary senior campaign. But don’t you be one of them. (and please keep me from being one of them either!)
For all of these kids, let’s all remember that, all else equal, it’s best for these kids to take the money and run.
That’s all I got for today. The clock just hit 21 minutes, and I’ve lost my lunch once again.
Leaf was not emotionally ready to start in NFL. A few guys recently seem to have made the adustment very quickly. Many have failed in the past.
i feel if Leaf had gone to a team with an established QB on a decent team, studied and matured over a couple years, he would have been a good NFL QB. On a poor team that needed a savior right away, he simply was not ready. And, then, the hand injury - which happened on a hustle play in practice, I seem to recall - ruined everything. Too bad.
If the money's there, TAKE IT AND RUN!!!!!!!! Yes, I'd like to see players finish 4 years, but as one drill instructor told me once, "look out for #1, then look over your sholder. That sounds a bit selfish, but it's reality in todays sports market. I hope Halliday does throw for 5K yards and improves to a top 10 or better draft pick. Look behind him folks, there's a stable of young QB's at good ole Wazzu that will probably have us asking "Conner who?" Who knows, he may not even keep the starting spot and finish as the #3 backup. Time will tell, time will tell.
If a player is ready and the possible loss of income due to injury (see Marcus Latimore) I completely understand. My big worry is the damage to the game like what we have seen done to college basketball with the one and done compromise.
@Stiffmiester I would never suggest changing NFL's current ban on players under 21. I think we're only arguing coming out after your junior year or not.
Here's my Saturday comment.
We suck. I haven't watched the Cougs much this year on the hardwoods--not since the Gonzaga game. The first half of today's game was unbearable. It was like watching a bunch of junior high girls play--except they were hairy and stood 6-6 or taller. At LEAST three times our guys got WIDE open on the low block with the nearest defender lost up by the elbow. Our guards fed the guy perfectly each time. One time the guy caught it, hesitated like he was going to fake his defender (who wasn't there) TOOK A DRIBBLE, then decided after wasting two full seconds and allowing the D to get back that the shot wasn't there. The next time the guy turned a bit quicker, but he appeared to wait for the defender to get back so he had an excuse to pass it back outside. The last time the kid couldn't catch a ball that hit him in the hands. He bobbled it four or five times then decided to pass it back out. In every situation the player should have had an easy two hand flush. Instead we spent 10 minutes without a field goal. In each case--even after the delays--the Cougar had position and should have tried to power through any attempted block that close to the hoop. The Arizona player was above him--that is higher up the key. This is what they should have done and it would have drawn a foul every time. If they hadn't dinked around with the ball each time, we would have had 3 way too easy slams.
Those would have been some of the only easy baskets. Arizona was guarding VERY well outside. Maybe, if we'd made them pay each time, they might have backed off us out top a little bit.
I'm not saying we would have won. I'm saying we looked awful today. Awful, awful. They looked so bad that I firmly believe that I could not have done worse INSIDE offensively if I'd have been on the team (if I was still 22).
I always respected Matt Leinart's reasoning about staying for his senior season, how you only live once, and how college will never come around again. And in his case, he probably didn't cost himself any money. The biggest argument for leaving early though, involves Barkley: injury! Especially if you're a running back, leave early! Marcus Lattimore from South Carolina is a good example of that. He could have gone early, and ended up blowing out a knee his senior year.
From a financial perspective, Ryan Leaf made the right decision leaving early. He knew the 1998 team wouldn't have been very good (though he would have added a couple more wins to our record had he stayed), and that he had reached his peak. But I'll bet if he could do it again, he would have stayed. I don't know if staying one more year would have prevented him from his downward spiral; maybe nothing would have. But he clearly, in hindsight, wasn't ready.
Darron Thomas (QB from Oregon) wasn't ready. I didn't think Jake Locker was ready either, though I don't think the extra year helped him; he just isn't an NFL QB, and likely never will be.
Makes you really appreciate Bledsoe. He was as ready a QB as you can be. I remember that Parcells started him as a rookie, because he was simply the most ready to help the team amongst the QB's on the Pats roster.
Anyway, there's my ramble!
If Connor Halliday throws for 5000 yards, he might as well stay. No one in the NFL is going to cough up a high draft pick for his tall twig of a body. He's going to get broken up there in the big leagues! Unless he bulks up significantly, he has no chance at an early draft pick. Also, bias persists about QBs from Leach's teams. Where did Graham Harrell go in the draft? On the other hand, if you can't improve your draft stock by sticking around--and you will likely make a team--why wait? As I've gotten older I've come to the conclusion that every career decision that you make should be based primarily on economics--cost benefit analysis. If I sound wishy-washy it's because I'm thinking out loud. I choose both sides of the argument!
One final note: I really hope Halliday throws for 5000 yards!
#1. Maybe yes, if you are talking about a lower round choice. But if pros are willing to spend a draft choice on you – they think you are ready. That’s probably the best indication.
#2. As you pointed out so well – it’s far from a certainty. For any number of reasons the junior year is often the best statistically and injuries are always a strong possibility.
#3. A player who says he cares more about his school than himself is a liar or a moron.
#4. College will always be there. You may only get one shot at being drafted.
Don’t cut Oregon too much slack. There are a number of ways to skin a cat and they may just take a more sophisticated approach to making their spin.
Oh, and on Locker? I don't think he was projected to be #3 in that draft, at least not by the time in January when they would have had to declare. But I do remember reading Kiper and McShay saying he was probably a top-10 lock that year and would be unlikely to fall beyond that range. That was the last year of that CBA that paid FAT bonuses to rooks with insane guaranteed money, so no doubt he cost himself at least $20 million guaranteed. And I remember the Hugh Millen's of the world trying to justify staying in school, new CBA be damned, and that you make your REAL NFL money on your second contract, not your rookie deal! But right now does Locker look like anything close to a player who is going to get Drew Brees or Tom Brady money after his rookie deal runs out?? NO WAY. Unless he absolutely blows up the next two seasons and suddenly learns how to be accurate, there is no chance he's going to get that kind of money. But oh well.
Good work Sutra, and I couldn't agree more. I have stuck to the "ya gotta go!" routine for a few years now and I fully believe that. I didn't used to, and I would be the guy trying to rationalize that they need to come back for whatever reason. But when the money and opportunity is staring you in the face, you have to do what's best for you and your family.
It's a tough/selfish thing though, as a college fan. You want to see your young players grow up to be men and seniors in your program, and you know that things will be good if you have a bunch of seniors on any roster! So it's tough to watch them go. But in football especially, one torn ACL or neck or shoulder injury or concussion can completely change your future, so if you are sitting there and projected to be a first-day NFL draft pick? GOOD LUCK SON, and thanks for everything!
@SeanHawkins I always want my guys to stay, but I've changed my tune on that. The only exception is when you have a guy that thinks he's gonna "get a go in the show" but really isn't ready. Then you have a kid with no pro career and a wasted opp to get a college degree. The kid from Washington--Tony Wroten--is a great recent example of that.
Obviously, coaches can be wrong in their assessments, but I always admired Chip Kelly's sentiment on the issue. Namely, "our job as coaches is to look out for the best interest of the player. IF they want to go pro, it is our job to give them the resources to assist in that evaluation."
He was so right.
@Sutra Thing is though, Wroten fell in the draft but he was still a first round pick (#25). A first round pick is gold in the NBA, in the guaranteed contract and all that. I know he's been in the D-league but he's got that contract in his back pocket. And Wroten was always going to be one-and-done, even though it was clear he could have used another year of seasoning. But he got his first round grade and that was that!
But no doubt that are always those stories of kids who come out too early and then don't get picked or just wash out completely, and you never hear about them again. Obviously that is the sad part, the lure of the money and the people around them telling them they should get paid (so really they can get paid too!).
Chip Kelly and also Mike Belotti were really good about that. I heard Belotti interviewed once about going early, and how they would work with their guys to see where they would fit at the next level and what they needed to work on if they did in fact stay in school. They would get the feedback from the group or groups who advise prospects about going pro, and then design a training plan for the player if they did stay in school on getting better where they need to improve in the eyes of the NFL. That was pretty cool! I don't know if other schools do that or not but I liked the sound of that.