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Pierre-Paul makes sensible decision to go pro

1/6/2010

There's little question that Jason Pierre-Paul, who is entering the NFL Draft, would have benefited from another year at South Florida.

Just one year removed from junior college, Pierre-Paul admitted at times this year that he had no idea what he was doing on the field. He missed most of preseason practice as he finished up some necessary coursework and had to rely on his physical skills rather than technique or experience.

But wow, what physical tools he has. At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds with a 6-9 wingspan, Pierre-Paul simply overpowered offensive linemen at times this year on his way to 6.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss.

His jaw-dropping athleticism -- watch this video of him doing backflips after an International Bowl practice -- have scouts drooling, even if he is not a polished product. That's why many, including our own draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., project Pierre-Paul as a first-round pick.

When you're projected that high, you have to go. Pierre-Paul's parents emigrated from Haiti, and his father is blind. (Read his complete story here). This is a decision that will help his family immensely.

Pierre-Paul will have to work hard in the NFL and develop a real passion for the game. His sister has told me he wanted to quit the sport in high school and says she doesn't know if he watches much football outside of his own games. He'll need to become a gym rat to really make the most of his physical gifts.

But if he comes close to doing that, he'll be a star at the next level.