The NFL Draft – Let’s Keep Those Young Guns in School

The NFL Draft – where unknowns become known and dreams are crushed as 32 NFL teams hand pick amongst thousands of players for the perfect fit for their respective programs.

Among these players are former All-Americans, Conference All Stars, and for that lucky player, a Heismen trophy winner. Fans, players, and even journalists agree with the early entrée policy which the NFL practices, but this journalist has his doubts.

A lot of great athletes have walk their college hallways for only a year or two before going on to the NFL and accomplishing amazing feats. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was an outstanding quarterback for the Virginia Tech Hookies. After his sophomore year, Vick left school to give the NFL a try.

Vick set several records for the Atlanta Falcons, even leading them to playoff  several births. Vick is arguably the best player to leave school early in NFL history. Sadly, however, he’s recently found himself kicked out of the league and serving time in prison after pleading guilty to dog fighting charges.

Along with Vick, Desean Jackson, who is a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles took Vick’s path and packed his bags, heading for the east coast after playing two years for the California Golden Bears. Rex Grossman, a former Florida Gator left school after his sophomore season also. He is currently the backup quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

It’s amazing to think that all these athletes, no matter how different they are, have one thing in common – they all don’t have a college diploma. They practically have four years of college paid for and all the curved grades they want, but when they reach life after football, they won’t have the credits to make it in the real world.

I know what you’re thinking. They’re going to be making millions in the NFL; they don’t need jobs after football. Maybe you’re right, but I also believe all players should serve their time in college, just in case, God forbid, some of them get hurt and they cant play football again.  They will have something to fall back on.

Nowadays in college, it’s all about your draft status. Draft status is when the NFL estimates when you will be drafted. Let’s look at the college football forcast right now. Tim Tebow is currently the quarterback for the 2009 National Champion Florida Gators and is a former Heismen trophy winner.  He is arguably the best quarterback to play the game at this level, and is a projected fourth- to fifth- round pick in the NFL draft.

Let the record be known that Tebow has officially announced that he is returning to Florida for his senior year. Regardless, if he entered this year, he would be a fourth-round pick. How is that possible? What does that say for other quarterbacks that can’t even compete at the same level as Tebow? I got two words for those such quarterbacks: scout team.

The 2009 NFL draft will become more of the same as college “young guns” try to make it big against professionals, who are already tenured animals in the NFL. Former Georgia Bulldogs Quarterback Matthew Stafford and USC’s Mark Sanchez will lead a young and inexperience freshman class into the NFL. Unlike Tebow, Sanchez and Stafford are project first-round picks, but will they see playing time? That question will eventually be answered.

Ohio State running back Chris (Beenie) Wells, Iowa’s Shonne Green, and Pittsburgh’s LeSean McCoy will be thrown to the wolves as they look to face linebackers such as Ray Lewis and Stewart Bradley. Texas Tech standout Michael Crabtree, who broke the single season record for catches by a freshman wide receiver, will also be making a bid for the NFL as a sophomore.

Staying in school and graduating could only make them into better players. The NFL is sticking around; I don’t understand why these players are in a hurry to sit the bench or in reality, they could be earning their scholarship money and dominating at the college level while earning a degree. Calling all NFL teams, “young guns” for sale: it’s your call Philadelphia, Chicago, San Diego, and New England – turn these “kids” into future stars, or tomorrow’s “has-been.”