Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why Sam should stay in school

Sam's getting surgery now and is expected to declare for the draft if all goes well. Last week, everyone was writing the "Sam should go pro" column. It’s easy to do. Here’s the alternative.

  • Of the 10 offensive linemen listed on the Sooner depth chart, 8 return next year. Let’s presume that’s a good thing. Honestly, a unit that works together under our offensive coaches can’t help but get better.
  • Two receivers graduate at the end of this year, Hands of Stone Tonnell and All conference fullback/guard/center/tight end Brody Eldridge. These two offensive weapons have combined for 15 catches for and 2 TD through seven games. Everyone else returns.
  • This similar topic was discussed ad nauseum when Matt Leinart stuck around. And when Peyton Manning stuck around. It worked well for one, hasn’t seemed to for the other.
  • Legacy - Sam needs to determine what his goals are. Is his goal to make it to the NFL? Or is to make it IN the NFL. There is tons of data out there that says that the longer you stay in school as an NFL quarterback, the better chance you have at success. Leave school early, and he could be like other underclassmen: Jamarcus Russell, Vince Young, Alex Smith, Rex Grossman, Quincy Carter, Michael Vick, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Tommy Maddox, Jeff George. He could beat the odds and be Ben Roethlisberger or Drew Bledsoe. Jury's still out on Aaron Rodgers. This isn't the Sooner in me talking. Other people say this, too.
  • Rick Gosselin breaks it down in terms of number of pass attempts. Disregard the thesis of the column that Brady Quinn is a safe pick.
  • Sam has thrown 893 passes in 2+ years, so he's relatively inexperienced compared to many college passers entering the NFL>.
  • Money. It’s going to be there regardless, whether it’s via insurance or NFL signing bonus. How many millions is enough?
  • There are two schools of thought; 1) why take unnecessary toll on your body for the scholly money only; 2) why start working for a living any sooner than you have to.

For a quarterback, there are several indicators that seem to contribute to success long term in the NFL: 1) play four years of college; 2) get lots of pass attempts at the collegiate level; 3) warm the bench for a couple of years while you mature and get used to the pace of the game. Sam can't control who he's drafted by - unless he wants to go all Eli Manning / John Elway on someone - but he can control how many reps he gets in college.

Sam, take it from a veteran. You've got the rest of your life to work. Enjoy college a little bit longer.


Anonymous said...

Isn't there a rookie salary cap coming in 2011? If so, then that alone would be motivation to leave early.


HeadThief said...

John - I looked into this earlier today. There are rumors of an NFL rookie salary cap in 2011, but it would have to go through the Collective Bargaining Agmt negotiated by the NFLPA, and that hasn't happened yet.