I did not make this headline up
We can now all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Denard's coming back for his senior season. My guess is that in Denard's case, asking the league for a draft evaluation was not so much about deciding whether to leave school early, as it was about two other things:
- Hearing what league scouts think about his chances to play QB in the NFL, and how much his openness to a position change would affect which round he's selected in; and
- Whether he and his family should get a disability insurance policy before his senior year, and how much they should spend on it.
I was curious to learn more about how disability insurance works for pro-caliber athletes who opt to stay in college rather than enter the draft early. I found this good NY Times piece from 2007, which focused on Louisville QB Brian Brohm. Some highlights:
The policies cover the athletes if an injury, sustained on the field or off, prevents them from playing professionally....
Typically, college athletes and their families will secure loans to cover the premiums. In football, the cost is roughly 1 percent of the policy’s value, or about $10,000 for $1 million worth of insurance. The amount of coverage available for the best players — those expected to be chosen in the first few picks of the draft — has nudged to about $10 million, double what it was at the start of the decade....
Insurance companies have offered disability policies to elite college athletes for decades. But many policies are bought through the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which entered the field in 1990 largely to combat agents who were secretly and illegally building relationships with athletes by offering to secure disability insurance while the athletes were in college.
The N.C.A.A. now offers up to $3 million of coverage for football players and varying amounts to top baseball, hockey and men’s and women’s basketball players....
Policies for elite college athletes are similar to those available to others with big earning potential, like professional athletes, entertainers and executives. A major difference is that a college player has no income history on which to base a policy.
Instead, insurance companies rely on the analysis of draft experts and scouting services. They decipher, a year or two in advance, where a player may be drafted, then calculate the sort of contract such a draft selection would be offered by using information from previous years....
To be eligible for the N.C.A.A. program, a football player must be projected to be drafted in the first three rounds — a guideline that most private insurers use, too, to protect their companies and to prevent players who miss the pros from being saddled with a loan for the premium that they cannot repay.
Denard's case has to be a bit tricky for an insurance company, and for NFL scouts, for that matter. I'd be shocked if Denard wasn't selected within the first three rounds. (Two points of comparison: Antwaan Randle El was taken in the 2nd round (pick #62) by the Steelers in 2002. However, Texas A&M's Reggie McNeal, who ran a 4.4 at the Combine but also whined about not wanting to play WR, wasn't taken until the 6th round by the Bengals in 2006.) But how high does he go? Denard's just as electric with the ball as Reggie Bush ever was -- is there a chance some team takes him in the early first round, and if so, should he get the insurance that reflects that higher contract?
Denard and his family have a big decision coming up. I'm curious what feedback he got from the league on this point.
Worst three years ever!
Is that headline sufficiently catchy?
Yesterday I decided to view the past three years -- and more -- through the NFL draft. CBS Sportsline has data back to 1967, so we can look at Elliot through Carr. (None of RichRod's guys have reached the draft stage.) I found that the number of picks for the most recent three-year stretch ('09 to '11, covering the '08 to '10 seasons), seven, is the lowest since the one ending in 1986, when there were six. Only one other interval (interestingly, the one concluding in 1985) is worse (five picks). The one ending in 1970 also had seven.
Considering only high (rounds one to three) draftees, the last three years look even worse. There were two high picks (Graham in 1st round, Mouton in 2nd round). This has never happened in the "modern" (Bo and beyond) era. The other low points, by that measure, were three straight (ones ending in the years '89, '90, and '91) series around the Bo-to-Mo transition and a couple in the '70s.
Here are the details: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AkEbjH02DNzxdG9LN2V...
Next to the first draftee for each year you'll see four columns: * Total number of picks for that year. * Total number of picks for that year and the two prior years. * Total number of "high" picks for that year. * Total number of "high" picks for that year and the two prior years.
Old-timers (and everyone else), be sure to look at the high-pick numbers for the three-year intervals ending from '72 to '74. By the measure of the NFL draft (which, as I'll note later, had fewer spots back then), those were some insanely talented teams. Recruiting was arguably never better. It's worth noting that Bump Elliot should get a good chunk of the credit, since his last class would have finished in '73. Let's hope that Brady can do something similar. He's off to a good start.
Feel free to blame Rodriguez (lousy player development and retention) / Carr (cupboard management) / both for the last three years, depending on your preference. I'll step aside for the moment. :)
Note: Since the draft is currently seven rounds, I ignored all picks past that round in old drafts. I did not account for expansion (Bucs and Seahawks in the mid-'70s, Panthers and Jags sometime after that), so the numbers from (say) the early '70s, which are already impressive, should be considered in that light. (Being drafted in the first round with fewer teams is a rarer achievement.)
In SI's preview of today's game, Junior Hemingway is Michigan's featured pro prospect:
Notably, none of the graduating seniors were chosen for that spot.
I'm a big fan of Hemingway and I think he's done a great job this year, but I see him as more Avant than Edwards, if that makes sense. I haven't seen the "speed to stretch the field" part and it's hard to imagine him being a #1 receiver. I won't be surprised if he has a pro career, though.
Happy DAC (day after Christmas), MGoBlog readers. Most of you are probably quite familiar with Ryan Mallet, who may or may not have been *run off* by Coach Rodriguez. Here's an interesting take by The Sporting News on his play this year:
Later in the article you'll see some material on Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod, whom we'll see in a few days.
There are a few Big Ten players in their "Fab 40." I noticed Adrian Clayborn is still well-regarded. Wasn't he neutralized by Taylor Lewan for most of that game? My memory might be spotty.
SI's Tony Pauline on Michigan's NFL prospects:
That sounds great for Mouton and is in line with earlier reports from this year.
I thought this was off-base: "Schilling made an immediate impact as a freshman when he started at right tackle for the Wolverines." He made an impact, I guess, but it wasn't necessarily a good one. I think he's benefitted a lot from the coaching change.
Oh, and here's a snippet from the Eric Gordon review that must warm the hearts of all the Dantonio-loving, Family Values types (some of whom are Michigan fans and RichRod haters): "... brings his lunch pail to every game ..." Man, I sure wish *we* had some guys like that (instead of dreadlocked hoodlums).
So, we all know how awesome Butch Davis was at Miami, pumping out 1st rounder after 1st rounder.
Well, he's doing it again at UNC.
Based on ESPN, here are some draft projections:
Robert Quinn - 4stars (5.8)
Deunta Williams - 4stars (5.8)
Bruce Carter - 3 stars (5.6)
Marvin Austin - 5stars (6.1)
Greg Little - 4stars (5.9)
Quan Sturdivant - 3stars (5.5)
Kenric Burney - 3stars (5.3)
3RD DAY OF DRAFT
Charles Brown - 2stars (5.4)
Ryan Houston - 3 stars (5.7)
Zach Pianalto - 3stars (5.6)
Brandon Tate - 2stars (5.3) - drafted 3rd round
Hakeem Nicks - 4stars (5.8) - drafted 1st round
The remarkable thing is that he's done it for the most part with lightly regarded HS prospects. If I remember correctly, it was a similar situation at Miami. Is there any other coach that seems to spot and develop talent better than Butch Davis?