NCF Nation: Drew Rosenhaus

Perspective on Thomas bolting Oregon

January, 15, 2012
Woke up thinking about Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas' surprising decision to enter the NFL draft.

We wrote last night it was a "terrible," decision, and based on things at present, it would be difficult to argue that it was a good decision.

[+] EnlargeDarron Thomas
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesOregon quarterback Darron Thomas is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
We may have overstated things saying that Thomas won't get drafted. For one, Thomas is a winner. He's 23-3 as a starter. And, despite some mechanical issues and runs of inaccuracy, he still finished ranked 11th in the nation in passing efficiency, though some might argue the dominance of the Ducks' run-first scheme made for some wide-open opportunities in the passing game.

Bottom line: All it takes is for one general manager to fall in love with him. Perhaps there are coaches out there who want to run more shotgun, spread-option elements.

Further, we don't know Thomas' situation. There could be personal reasons he's taking this seemingly premature leap of faith in himself, though he didn't provide any such insights to ESPN's Joe Schad during a phone conversation Saturday night. He already has his degree, so that certainly satisfies one potential tweak from observers.

A couple of you reasonably commented in the mailbag that Thomas probably wouldn't solve his issues -- mechanical or otherwise -- during his senior year if he hadn't already, therefore his stock likely won't get much higher.

I'd add that the recent decisions of USC QB Matt Barkley and Oklahoma QB Landry Jones to return for their senior seasons makes this QB draft class fairly thin after Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III. This likely was also noted by Arizona State's Brock Osweiler, who surprised some with his decision to leave early.

You tick off the top 10 QBs and things start to get thin pretty early. Considering 12 QBs were drafted last spring, Thomas certainly has a solid shot to be a late-round pick.

But Thomas would have benefited from coming back, and I strongly feel he would have improved his draft status.

For one, yes, he could improve his accuracy and mechanics. While some insist you can't improve accuracy after a certain point, keep in mind accuracy is a two-way street. Do you think Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden's 72 percent completion percentage would have been any lower if he didn't have wide receiver Justin Blackmon? Yes, you do. The Ducks should be better and deeper at receiver next season -- assuming the talented redshirt freshmen come through -- and that might have helped Thomas boost his 62 percent completion percentage.

Further, completing a body of work matters. If the Ducks won another BCS bowl next January, and Thomas improved to, say, 36-4 as a starter -- and maybe completed 66 percent of his passes in 2012 -- the evidence on the "winner" side counterbalancing the "he's a spread-option guy with questionable mechanics" would have been much heavier. Three years of success playing quarterback in the Pac-12 would have been far more impressive than two years.

Schad reported that Thomas signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus, which means the deal is done. There won't be any backtracking.

But it also means that one of the top agents in the NFL believes in Thomas. So maybe what will end up being "terrible" about this decision will be our initial reaction?

Anyone else need a shower after watching that?

Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his new agent Drew Rosenhaus held a brief news conference Tuesday in Miami. Pryor made his first extended public comments since announcing his departure from Ohio State, although the quarterback didn't take any questions from the media after reading a statement. Rosenhaus then proceeded to talk about how Pryor will take the NFL by storm, how much Jim Tressel loves Pryor, how Pryor will redeem himself with Ohio State fans, blah, blah ...

ESPN2 wisely broke away from the Rosenhaus rant midstream.

Here are a few excepts from Pryor's statement:
  • "In terms of Ohio State, I'd like to say sorry to the coaching staff, say sorry to my teammates, say sorry to all the Buckeye Nation and all the Buckeye fans throughout the country. I never meant to hurt anybody directly or indirectly."
  • "To coach Jim Tressel, a special shout-out, I'm sorry for all I've done. I apologize with all my heart. I love you just like a father. You taught me a lot. I apologize for being in a situation that [has taken] you out of a job and a place that you loved to be. I regret the fact that you're not there anymore, and I regret that fact I'm not there anymore."
  • Pryor said he has nine academic credits to complete before graduating from Ohio State. "I'd like to come back and graduate sometime and finish my degree and graduate as a Buckeye," he said. Here's hoping he follows through.
  • Pryor confirmed he's entering the NFL supplemental draft in July.
  • "One of my goals is to be the best person I can possibly be off the field, be the best role model I can possibly be off the field."

So there you have it. Pryor did apologize quite a bit in his brief statement, although I doubt too many Buckeyes fans are in a forgiving mood right now. It was important that he acknowledged his mistakes, but he might have picked a better forum to do so.

Rosenhaus added that Pryor has expressed "tremendous remorse" and is "responsible for the mistakes he has made. He has owned up to them. … But the past is now the past." The agent added that Pryor wanted to stay at Ohio State and wants to redeem himself with Buckeyes fans.

One of the more interesting nuggets is that according to Rosenhaus, Tressel remains very involved with Pryor and has vouched for the quarterback.

"He's going to champion this young man," Rosenhaus said.

Rosenhaus predicted that Pryor would be a first-round pick in July's NFL supplemental draft. Former Duke quarterback Dave Brown was the last first-round pick in the supplemental draft, way back in 1992.

"Are you kidding me? Middle round for this guy?" Rosenhaus said. "... He is going to be a great NFL quarterback. With all the teams that need QBs, you can't tell me people are not going to jump on this young man."

We'll see about that.

One NFL receiver seems sold on Pryor. Chad Ochocinco, another Rosenhaus client, raved about Pryor on Twitter after working out with the quarterback Tuesday morning.

Ochocino tweeted of Pryor: "Unbelievable arm strength n superb timing with it just being our first day," and, "the media said @tpeezy2 isn't NFL type QB,after running routes n seeing great timing n arm strength I beg to differ."

Talent always wins out, and if Pryor can convince NFL personnel folks that he can succeed both on and off the field at the next level, he'll find a place to play.

He just might want to hope the NFL folks don't judge him by today's charade.

What we learned in the Pac-10: Week 11

November, 14, 2010
What did we learn this week?

Oregon's offense isn't unstoppable: Did California provide a map for at least slowing down the Oregon offense? The Bears didn't do anything fancy. They mostly just played man coverage, used seven guys in the box to stop the run and the defensive line played downhill, driving to penetrate, making it hard for Oregon's spread-option to move laterally in the backfield. Or was it just a bad day for the Ducks? In any event, the performance by the Bears showed that -- as good as the Ducks are -- Oregon's offense isn't a supernatural force.

[+] EnlargeJeff Tuel
Craig Mitchelldyer/US PresswireJeff Tuel had his way passing and running against the Oregon State defense on Saturday.
There is hope for Washington State: The Cougars have been more competitive this year, yes, but a lot of the praise in that respect felt like a pat on the head. But winning big at Oregon State is much different. That's something that can be a linchpin of a transformation. Bottom line: For the first time in 16 Pac-10 games, the Cougs were smiling when the clock struck zero.

Lane Kiffin might be a good coach: There is evidence that, perhaps, Kiffin advanced more quickly through the coaching ranks than he deserved. There is evidence that Kiffin sometimes says things he will regret, or that qualify as trash talking. But, please, show me some evidence that he can't coach. And, as a counter to the lame evidence Kiffin's critics produce, consider the Trojans' win at Arizona. And how the Trojans are a better team today than they were a year ago, when they were deeper and more talented.

Stanford's defense has turned the corner: Stanford used to be seen as soft on defense. It stopped being that under Jim Harbaugh, but then it was slow. Now? Stanford looks pretty darn good. A week after holding Arizona to just 17 points, the Cardinal held Arizona State to 12 first downs and 268 total yards. When you look at one-loss teams, who looks better than Stanford? The answer: No one.

Oregon State? Heck if I know: The Beavers were projected as the No. 3 team in the Pac-10 during the preseason. Perhaps that was respect for the program. And just two weeks ago, the Beavers were still in control of their Rose Bowl fate. But now, after their third loss in four games, they look like a long shot to earn bowl eligibility. Oh, and they now are the trivia answer to: Who did Washington State beat to end a 16-game Pac-10 losing streak? Where the Beavers are is not where anyone expected them to be.
The ultimate goal, said Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, is getting three brothers on the same NFL team.

[+] EnlargeRob Gronkowski
Chris Morrison/US PresswireRob Gronkowski had 672 yards and 10 TDs in 2008.
The day's news is that Gronkowski is leaving Arizona a year early to join his brother and Wildcats teammate, senior fullback Chris, in the NFL draft, after which they will join older brother Dan, who's already with the Detroit Lions.

"Three brothers in the NFL at one time? That's unbelievable," Rob Gronkowski said. "That was always my dream."

Gronkowski said that despite sitting out the entire season with a back problem that required surgery, he's healthy now -- doctors cleared him this week, he said -- and he and expects to be selected in the first round.

"I got all great reports [from the NFL] -- first round, if I can show them I'm healthy," he said.

Gronkowski said he was medically cleared by Dr. Robert G. Watkins III, who performed back surgery on Gronkowski, as well as Dr. James Andrews, but he admitted he's not sure if he will be able to participate in the NFL combine.

"If I'm not 100 percent, if I don't feel like I'm ready to go, then I might just go and do interviews," he said. "But I'm definitely going to be ready before the draft. I'll be ready for pro day or my own little pro day I'll do. I'm definitely going to show them I'm 100 percent."

He said he has hired Drew Rosenhaus to be his agent.

Gronkowski said he expects two years of game film to impress scouts and GMs. And when he's ready to work out, he expects to show off impressive physical skills that earned him All-Pac-10 honors as a sophomore.

"I'm going to wow the teams," he said.