Should top NFL draft picks pass on the 2020 season? -

Should top NFL draft picks pass on the 2020 season?

by James Cunningham

Posted: 7/21/2020 8:00:28 AM

I know people don’t want to read this, but if I have an NFL draft grade of a 4th round or better, there is no way I am suiting up this season. If you have made it this far and you are Trevor Lawrence, or Justin Fields, or Penei Sewell why are you even considering playing? We all have come to terms with players sitting out meaningless bowl games to get prepared for the NFL draft. It is time to come to terms with this season being a complete wash.

The NFL has already come out and stated that they have no interest in moving the draft to accommodate a spring college football season. With all of the uncertainty swirling around this season, my advice? Shut it down, sit out, and take this time to work with individual coaches to get prepared for the draft.

The time to make this decision is now. With the conferences still not understanding if there is going to be a season and if there is how will they protect the health of the players there is no reason to play.

A player like Trevor Lawrence does not need to put anymore film out there. Lawrence is a lock to go one or two in the draft. He’s won a National Championship. The only thing that Lawrence hasn’t done is won the individual college football awards. But is coming back for a truncated season, or a season that begins in the spring worth the risk?

Competing in this environment where contracting a virus that attacks the lungs is possible why take that risk? As of yet, we do not know the long term effects of this virus on lung capacity. And while it is possible that there are no long term effects, would you gamble millions of NFL dollars on that? I know I wouldn’t.

Justin Fields is in a different situation. He has only the one real season as a starting QB. While at Georgia, we never got to see what Fields could do. Last year at Ohio State, Fields put up staggering numbers. According to Ghost Insights, he completed 67% of his passes for 3,273 yards 41 TD’s and only 3 INT’s. Now, critics will say it was only one season and that last INT is going to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths.

However, Fields has show he has the mobility and arm strength to make it in the NFL. Given that uncertainty, there is no way that he would even fall out of the top 5 and would probably go number 2. The same argument for Lawrence applies. The only reason to return to Ohio State is to win a National Championship, which given Ohio State’s returning roster? They have a shot.

Now, a lot of people will ask who Penei Sewell is. Let’s just say he is the best offensive lineman in the country. Sewell won the Outland Trophy last year as well as being a Unanimous All-American selection. He will also be a top 5 pick. He cannot do anything to better his draft status.

Let’s go down the draft order. Let’s talk about a player like Travis Etienne. He decided to return to Clemson for his senior season. Given the current climate and the devaluation of the running back position would you come back? It seems as though there are a finite number of carries in a running back’s career. Would you advise Etienne or any other running back to come back to play 8 or 9 games?

We all know that athletes of this caliber are cut from a different cloth. They love the game and the idea of sitting a season, however shortened, will eat at them. They love being out there with the guys and miss the locker room the most. However, these conversations need to happen. When you make it so close to your dream and make generational wealth going forward, would you play a season that will not improve your draft stock and can only do more damage than good?

Would you feel comfortable advising any of these young men to play and risk getting hurt or getting sick without being compensated? I know, I wouldn’t. If you would, maybe you need to sit back and think about that for a second.

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Categories: Clemson, Football

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