Monday, December 19, 2011
Stay or go? Predicting NFL draft prospects
By ESPN.com staff
If you're a projected first-round NFL draft pick, you go. If not, the decision becomes a little more difficult, at least it would for me. Numerous players in the ACC have already decided to leave early and pursue careers in the NFL. It's a personal decision and one I've got no business questioning, as there are plenty of factors that might not be made public that go into the decision.
I can, however, predict what they might do and what round they might be selected in.
To me, there is only one no-brainer when it comes to leaving school early for this year's NFL draft:
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly: Was there any award he didn'twin this year? What he's done in just three seasons at BC is remarkable, and he would gain more as a first-round draft pick than he would a starting linebacker for the Eagles in 2012. Kuechly is not only physically gifted enough, he's also smart enough and mature enough to handle the transition. Prediction: Early-to-mid first-round. GONE.
There are three more underclassmen who are borderline first-round picks:
1. Miami running back Lamar Miller: There's no questioning his talent, and he is one of the most explosive backs who will be available, as Miller has already decided to leave early. The decision didn't come as a surprise, but as a redshirt sophomore, Miller might have benefited from another season. He said he wouldn't have gone, though, if he didn't expect to be taken in the first round. Prediction: Late first-round. GONE.
2. Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen: He has been an outstanding option in Clemson's offense this year, not only because of his ability to catch the ball, but also because he is a strong blocker. He's got all of the leadership skills and intangibles coaches look for, and he's mature enough for the next step. Prediction: Late first-round. GONE.
3. Virginia Tech running back David Wilson: He's faster than Miller, and his ability to break tackles and get the yards after contact is not only impressive, it's fun to watch. If he stays, he should be considered a legitimate Heisman candidate. The difference between Wilson and Trent Richardson this year might have been Wilson's seven fumbles, four of which he lost. If he goes, he could sneak into the first round. My take: I'm glad I'm not the one making this decision. If the NFL draft advisory board told me first round, I wouldn't hesitate. Prediction? High second-round. GONE.