It makes no sense for the top players in college football to play an additional year if they don’t need to.
A number of potential first-round picks have decided to opt out of their college football season due to COVID-19 and that’s their choice. I’m here to tell you that top players like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields should opt out to not play this season due to their future for the NFL despite the issues with the virus.
The perfect example is Lawrence. The star quarterback for Clemson will be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, whether he plays this season or not. The issue that could potentially hurt his draft stock and millions of dollars is that he could be risking getting an injury. The Clemson gunslinger has won a national championship and has nothing else to prove in his career, other than winning the Heisman Trophy.
Even though Lawrence made a number of statements on Twitter suggesting that he wants to play this season, he would benefit more if he sat out this season. Lawrence could hire an agent and begin working out for the NFL. Lawrence can also go out and get some endorsements to make a brand for himself and make some really good money instead of not getting paid to play in college.
Fields of Ohio St. is in a similar situation. Even though Fields doesn’t have much film out there, the film is good enough to be a potential top-five pick. Why go out and risk putting bad film out there this season?
Going back for an additional season has hurt a number of players in recent years. Look at Matt Barkley. The star QB at USC would have been a first0round pick back in 2012 NFL Draft and probably the second or third quarterback off the board after Andrew Luck. Could Barkley have been drafted before Robert Griffin III is a question I will always ask myself if Barkley came out early.
Since Barkley decided to stay for his senior year, he would battle a shoulder injury and lead his Trojans to a 7-6 record after starting the season as the No. 11 ranked team in the country. Barkley would then fall to the fourth round in the NFL Draft.
Another example is Jake Fromm. The Georgia native led his Bulldogs to a national championship as a freshman and would have a career year as a sophomore. Entering the 2019 college football season, Fromm was projected as one of the top quarterbacks in the country and projected a first-round pick.
Fromm played his junior year and he had a bit of a down season. Fromm would have the lowest completion percentage of his career in the red and black as well as his lowest QB rating, as well. With a down year, Fromm went from a potential first-round pick to a fifth-round pick of the Bills.
The smartest thing to do from a business standpoint is put the best film out there on the field and then get the money as fast as possible. This is what a majority of NFL players have told me over the years, “Chase the money.”
The rule to be in the NFL is that you have to be three years out of high school. That’s it! You don’t have to play three years in college. Play two years and then take that junior year off if that player believes he will be a first-round pick.
There have been plenty of players who come from a lower class in which that player’s family is struggling with money issues and if a player has a chance to make millions, it would be better if he chased the money to help his family out and potentially give them a better life by getting endorsements instead of playing an additional season for no pay.
It’s understandable that some players do want to go back and play out their collegiate career like Luck did, but it’s not worth the risk. Luck got lucky. What if he had gotten hurt or played bad in his senior season at Stanford? Would he have still been the No. 1 pick by the Colts? There’s too many question marks.
In the moment, it might make more sense for college football players to go back to college and compete with their teammates. But from an individual standpoint, it makes more sense to chase the money than playing another season for free.
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