The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 21, 2012

Sooner Report: Players weigh NFL options

NORMAN, Okla. — Over the next three and a half weeks, many college juniors will weigh whether to return to school for their senior seasons, or enter the NFL draft.

The two obvious Oklahoma players contemplating the jump are safety Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Kenny Stills.

Both said this week that a decision hasn’t been made. Their position coaches along with OU coach Bob Stoops said they’ll get them all the information they need to make an informed decision.

However, the reality is once a player decides he wants to enter the draft logical reasons for staying in school rarely win out.

“The ones that have their mind made up to go are going to go no matter what,” Stoops said Wednesday night. “They generally went where they said they were gonna go. They generally didn’t play long and generally didn’t make much money because of where they were picked.”

Since Stoops became head coach in 1999, nine players who turned pro with eligibility still remaining. Some of the decisions were easy. Five were selected in the NFL draft’s first round: Safety Roy Williams (2002), defensive tackle Tommie Harris (2004), Adrian Peterson (2006), quarterback Sam Bradford (2009) and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (2009).

The cautionary tale is with the players who left early, but were not first round picks: defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson (2002), safety Brodney Pool (2004), wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, linebacker Curtis Lofton (2008) and defensive back Reggie Smith (2008).

According to the NFL, the average career of a first-round pick is 9.3 years. It drops a significant amount in every round after that. The accepted average for an NFL career is around 3 1/2 years.

There’s a a reason most players are out after three years: salary structure. The minimum rookie salary is $375,000. The minimum salary for a player with a four-to-six years of experience is $685,000. It’s cost effective to load teams with younger players.

“Who are the guys after three years that are easy to let go of after three years? The third and the fourth, fifth, sixth rounders,” Stoops said. “They don’t have as much invested and now they have to pay you twice as much on your second contract. Why don’t I just get another kid out of college and pay him the same thing? We don’t have all the other things attached with pensions and everything else. It’s why the average years in the NFL is three or three and half. It’s exactly why.”

Of those non-first-round picks that left early, some worked out and some didn’t.

Wilkerson had and eight-year career. Pool played for seven. Smith played for four seasons and Kelly last just two seasons.

Lofton is the New Orleans Saints’ middle linebacker and is one of the few that got a big contract after his rookie deal expired. He signed a 5-year deal worth up to $33.5 million in March.

“My whole point is: you better maximize your window and get all you can out of it. If you don’t, you’re playing cheap, you’re playing at a discount. To me, you ought not do that.

Stoops whole point is players have to maximize their opportunity to be a first-round pick.

“What everyone doesn’t get is if you give that up, it never comes back. If you have the ability to be a first-rounder and you in the second, you’ve lost $4 million; that’s a significant amount of money you can never get back. You could’ve had it and finished your degree; that’s the point,” Stoops said.

“It’s also taking care of mom money. Second-round money is not taking care of mom money. You’re young. By the time you pay the taxes, your agent, you get a house, get a car, then you got 50 years of your life to live, you’re gonna go through that.”

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • OU logo color.jpg Believing the Sooner hype? It sure looks that way

    the Sooners walked on water the last night of last season, riding the Crimson Tide to a 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory that fired up the last couple weeks of the recruiting season, carried on to spring drills, inspired the players through summer conditioning, so said the head coach, who has everybody believing for the first time since Sam Bradford went on his Heisman tour that it’s safe to put every one of their emotional eggs in OU’s football basket.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • David Clyde Ex-MLBer goes from pitching phenom to Connie Mack coach

    David Clyde was a picture of contentment after his Houston Miracles shut out the Texas Stix Black of the Dallas area 4-0 in the first round of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Majors fall Majors stumble late, fall to regional losers' bracket

    Cherry Creek, Colo., broke out for six runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over the Enid Majors in the first round of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bob Stoops Sooners, as usual, managing expectations

    High hopes are always attached to Oklahoma and this year is no different with the Sooners entering the 2014 season as a consensus pick to reach the first College Football Playoff.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mike Gundy Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it – former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong's Texas Longhorns.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Charlie Strong Texas’ Strong prefers not talking national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • A new ACC? New ACC settles into era of stability

    Welcome to the new Atlantic Coast Conference.
    It’s where a founding member is out, a fast-rising program is in, Notre Dame is there, too — sort of — and nobody else is leaving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devonte Fields TCU’s Fields investigated for alleged assault

    TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast you!”

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Minors lose in first round

    Wren Perry and Garrett Scudder combined for a two-hitter as the D-Bats Gallegos of Dallas run-ruled the Enid Minors 8-0 in six innings in the first round of the South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-23-14

    July 22, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.