Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sorry, but I'm not pumped about #1 pick

So you really want the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft? You want that pick because that player will be the one to turn your franchise around? This reminder...

For every Toy Aikman (1989), there is a Tim Couch (1999). For every Peyton Manning (1998), there is a Jamarcus Russell (2007). For every Orlando Pace (1997), there is a Kenneth Sims (1982). For every Eli Manning (2004), there is a KiJana Carter (1995).

Basically, there are no guarantees that the number one overall pick in the draft will amount to anything.

There is plenty of reason to think that the potential number 1 pick next April, Andrew Luck from Stanford, will remain at Stanford for his junior season. He was runner-up in Heisman Trophy balloting, and there are the obvious 2-sides to the argument of staying in school, vs. going pro. He'll make the best decision for himself, be sure of that. But what is that best decision? Let's help him out.

Andrew, you'll be a senior, in command of a Stanford program that went 11-1 this year, with the only loss coming at the hands of national champion contender Oregon. You'll lead your team against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. There are no guarantees that the Cardinal will enjoy the same success in 2011, but there is one certainty: the Cardinal WILL have a season, without a doubt in 2011. Being the senior starting QB at a PAC-10 school can't be all bad, especially in California. About the only drawbacks are going to classes, the occasional rainy day, and...well, I can't think of anything else. The biggest question mark hovering over you and your program is Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's status. Will he stay, or jump to either Michigan or the NFL?

Andrew, this is where it gets tricky. Going pro means you play football for a living. It means instead of going to class, you go to practice, then lift, then film study. Then, you repeat. It becomes a job, and it's one that you will love, I can tell. The payoff comes in the form of a contract, and it will be a biggie from whichever team selects you. You'll get a big signing bonus, guaranteeing that you will be financially secure. You'll get a multi-year contract as well, which will certainly go a long way around the holidays when picking out the perfect gift for someone special. There are drawbacks, though. There is the never ending scrutiny of being the top overall pick (which you will face whether you stay in school or come out early). There will be pressure for you to succeed quickly, because that is what's expected of the top overall pick. The general fan doesn't know how difficult it is to make that transition from college to pro. They will only see your price tag, and demand excellence from the second you step off the plane to your welcome-to-town press conference.

Oh yeah, one other thing. There may not even be a season for you in 2011, if the NFL and NFLPA don't reach a labor agreement.

That's a lot to think about for a guy that just turned 21, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The Carolina Panthers are in the running for the top overall pick, and based on how they gutted this roster of its leadership, and replaced those players with younger and cheaper options, it begs the question of would Luck even WANT to play in Carolina if taken by the Panthers?

To paraphrase The Clash, "Should he stay or should he go?"

Mike Solarte

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