Posted by Walter
These immortal words echo with fans of The Clash and NFL prospects alike. Deciding when to go pro is the most crucial decision any great athlete ever makes. And while numerous factors weigh into the equation, we here at the323 have boiled it down to a science. We here at the323 don't care about whether a kid goes all Matt Leinart and just wants to live the college life for another year. We don't care whether his mom or dad wants a new beamer and therefore "his family needs the money." All we care about is whether the player is or is not ready once he steps on the field. So without further ado, the official 323 report card for early draft entrants.
**players listed in alphabetical order**
Jon Abbate - MLB, Wake Forest (Jr.)
Walter: Abbate was consistently the best player on what turned out to be a great Wake Forest defense in 2006. In that time, he went from a relatively unknown player to a fringe top 100 draft pick. I love what Abbate brings to the table as a football player, and I also believe the Zach Thomas comparisons are pretty apt. That said, another year of weight training and experience in the ACC would have done him well. Abbate made a name for himself in 2006, and that reputation wouldn't have been damaged no matter what Wake did in 2007.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. Abbate is going to be a fine player in the NFL, but his draft stock would have benefited from another year in college.
Frazier: Ok, since this post is possibly the longest in history, I am going to do my best to keep things abbreviated, which I usually suck at. But I am going to try anyways. As far as Abbate goes, he's a hell of a player. He is going to make a team very happy when they realize he's a tough, disciplined guy who can make plays all over the field. He is going to be a very solid pro, as he was an excellent player for the Deacs.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. Unless he wows people with work-out numbers he is going to slip and slide. Someone will get a very good deal, but it won't be a good one for Abbate.
Jamaal Anderson - DE, Arkansas (Jr.)
Walter: There is no doubt that Anderson is 100% physically ready for the NFL. At 6'6'' and 280 lbs. he has the size to butt heads with the best the NFL has to offer. A relative unknown to college football novices before the Razorbacks' coming out party in 2007, Anderson was never unknown to SEC coaches. An absolute terror in the backfield, Anderson and Gaines Adams of Clemson are clearly the two best defensive end prospects in this draft.....and Anderson outweighs the relatively slight Adams by nearly 30 pounds. A first round lock.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good, very good. Anderson was considered a top 25 pick prior to Arkansas' bowl game, and after his monster performance against the very solid Wisconsin O-Line he is now a lock for the top 10.
Frazier: This guy is a beast. One of the best defensive players on the board. He can stop the run, and terrorize the quarterback. More of a Richard Seymour than a Dwight Freeney, and that's a compliment. He is a perfect end on a team that plays a 3-4. He's a real ass-kicker.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Rumble young man, rumble. I hope he decides some day to go and get his degree, because education should be valued. But hell, if I were him I'd have bolted too. He's a top-ten lock.
Alan Branch - DT, Michigan (Jr.)
Walter: Another player who is as physically ready for the NFL as he is going to be. Branch established himself in 2007 as the preeminent interior defensive lineman in America. Branch's performance, and the overall performance of the Michigan defense, in 2007 rocketed his stock to the top of the first round. Branch is a beast in the middle of the defensive line and his run stuffing skills will be coveted highly by NFL teams.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Branch has a chance to go in the top 6 picks in this draft and even another season in college probably wouldn't have pushed him higher than that. With a relatively weak crop of DT this season (thanks to Glen Dorsey returning to LSU), Branch made a very wise decision.
Frazier: Gotta love the big man. Even when Michigan's defensive secondary was falling apart, they could still stop the run better than anyone in the country. Branch was a huge part of that. He's going to plug gaps, get great push, and allow his linebackers to hog the glory. Every team needs a guy like Branch. He's going to make a team very happy, even if he isn't the sexiest pick around.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. He's going to be picked very high, and after the year Michigan had stuffing the run, it wasn't going to get any better than this. He's peaking.
Alan Branch and Lamar Woodley......and yes,
that's Branch dwarfing his more famous teammate.
Tedd Ginn Jr. - WR, Ohio State (Jr.)
Walter: Ginn is an interesting case because he has a ton of ability, hasn't ever produced consistently, yet I don't feel that he is ever going to get much better than he is now. For three years now Ginn has been equally electric and madddening with his play. Chances are some team is going to fall in love with his speed and draft him far higher than he should go, but then again that probably would have happened if he remained in Columbus for his Sr. year. He shouldn't fall out of the middle of the first round.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Indifferent. Ginn is the classic "athlete" who plays football, and these guys always get taken earlier than they should whether they are Juniors or Seniors.
Frazier: He's fast. I mean, that's pretty much all you can say about the guy. He burns, and everyone knows that. But fast wide receivers do not always mean good wide receivers. The best ones in the league aren't the fastest. Anyone remember Bethel Johnson? Of course not, but he could fucking fly.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good, maybe. This all depends on whether he can run the 40 at peak condition. Another year of school and people may have realized that he hasn't shown any growth as a receiver. On the other hand, his speed is his real asset, and if he is hurt and can't put up a good 40 time, he will slip a little. Still, he'll get drafted high, and make some team miserable. If Detroit were picking 12-18, he would be a mortal lock to go to that wide receiver purgatory.
Anthony Gonzalez - WR, Ohio State (Jr.)
Walter: Personally, I think that as much as Ginn is an overrated NFL prospect, Gonzalez is underrated. Gonzalez has underrated speed, and produces far more consistently that Ginn. That said, scouts have to be concerned with his inability to separate from the Florida defensive backs. There is no doubt that another season in college would have helped his development, but three or four more performances like he had in the title game would have hurt. Right now Gonzalez looks like a late second round or early third round pick (and I think he'd be perfect in Patriots blue).
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. Gonzalez will be a good NFL player, but if he had any confidence in his skills he would have returned to Columbus as the #1 guy and worked himself in the 2008 first round (which has a far weaker WR crop).
Frazier: I like Gonzalez. He'll make a good 3rd receiver in the NFL. He simply lacks the speed to be a pure #1, but he's tough, physical, and runs good routes. He will definitely contribute, and has every chance of having a more illustrious career at the next level than Ginn. Of course, he's never going to be a great player either.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. Not sure what he gains by leaving early. It's an incredibly deep wide receiver class, and he doesn't have the work-out numbers to jump the guys ahead of him. Another year in college, especially with a bigger spotlight, would not have hurt. He doesn't have the great stats (Meachem, the Shark) or the great measurables (Jarrett, Johnson, Rice, Bowe) so I'm not sure what's going to help Gonzalez break into the top 6 WRs taken. What, was his stock going to drop by being the featured receiver on a nationally prominent team?
Dwayne Jarrett - WR, USC (Jr.)
Walter: Another player who is as physically ready for the NFL as he is going to become. Jarrett is a man among boys on the college level, but his decision to turn pro does have one huge drawback. Namely, Calvin Johnson and an incredibly talented 2007 WR crop. In my mind Jarrett is clearly the #2 prospect at the position, but it is a virtual given that some stupid team will fall in love with Ted Ginn pushing Jarrett to #3. Had he stayed in school he would have been the hands down choice as #1 WR in 2008.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good, very good. Screw that. Jarrett was ready for the NFL last season. He is going to make a lot of money.
Frazier: Yeah, I saw the guy in person and I would do anything in my power to draft him. He is damned good. Have to worry a little bit about recent USC receivers, and a very deep WR class. On the other hand, what else does he have to prove? The kid can ball. Fast, strong, athletic, and he has great hands. He'll push Calvin Johnson every step of the way.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Duh. He's more than ready.
Calvin Johnson - WR, Georgia Tech (Jr.)
Walter: The best WR prospect to come along in years. In my mind, he, Jamarcus Russell, Joe Thomas and Laron Landry are the four best overall prospects in this draft. Johnson has nothing more to prove in college.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good, great, whatever other superlative you can think of. The only thing that Johnson can accomplish by staying in college is get hurt.
Frazier: You know who he is. So did every team he played. Even with the scatter-shot Reggie Ball heaving the ball all over the place, Johnson made things happen. He's gifted.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. This might be the biggest no-brainer of the lot.
yards with Captain Hook throwing him the ball....
on second thought, he may be an improvement
over Reggie Ball.........
Marshawn Lynch - RB, California
Walter: Physically Lynch looks ready for the NFL. But I am not so sure. Lynch sat behind JJ Arrington as a Freshman. He shared times with Justin Forsett during an injury riddled Sophomore season. Finally as a Sr. he was healthy and unencumbered, yet he did not have the season most expected he would. Right now Lynch could fall all the way to the late picks of the first round, even though this is a poor RB draft. However, with Adrian Peterson joining him as an early entrant Lynch is at best the #2 back. Had he stayed in college he could have been the #1, although he would have risked going up against guys like Steve Slaton and Darren McFadden in 2008. Still, with a monster season in 2007 Lynch would have been, at worst, the #2 back.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad, slightly. With Peterson's presence and the lack of teams who need a true feature back, Lynch may be costing himself millions.
Frazier: I don't love Lynch. He reminds me a lot of Arrington. Here's a guy with all sorts of good numbers, but never exactly took my breath away. He's got the skills, but I'm not sure if he can really use it. He really didn't do anything spectacular. That being said, he's the second best back in the draft. I'm not in love with this guy, and I'm not sure where he's going to go, but I'm glad it won't be to the Pats.
Good, Bad or Ugly? Good. Sort of. He's the second best back, so that's something. And who knows, maybe Peterson gets banged up again, or teams think he's soft, or something weird happens. Maybe he makes the leap. If he came back, he'd be the third best back (at best) next year. McFadden as the swiss-army running back is a monster, and teams will drool over Slaton, especially if Reggie Bush continues to show people what you can do with a smallish burner who can make plays in space. It was the right time.
Robert Meachem - WR, Tennessee (Jr.)
Walter: Meachem had a very nice season, but physically he is not one of the top players at his position. Strictly from a physical standpoint, Meachem falls behind at least 4 players (Johnson, Jarrett, Ginn, Samardzjia), and possibly 3 more (Bowe, Davis, Rice). With so many of the most talented underclass WR declaring this year, and with talented QB Erik Ainge returning to Knoxville, Meachem had a chance to have a monster 2007 and cement his status as one of the top 3 WR for the 2008 draft. Right now, he's going to have to hope some team falls in love with him to sneak into round 1.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. Meachem would have been the MAN at Tenn. in 2007, not to mention a member of nearly every preseason all america team. It ain't hard to turn that tpye of positive press into a top 10 selection (something he assuredly WON'T be this year).
Frazier: Meachem is a nice player. He had a good year at Tenn. and he certainly has a lot of physical ability. And who knows, he may turn into a great NFL player, or at least a good one. There is certainly a case to be made there. On the other hand, this is an incredibly deep WR draft. Jarrett and Johnson are in a class by themselves, but after them there are plenty of other excellent prospects. Ginn will go too high, Rice is a great player, someone will grab the Shark early (being white won't hurt his chances, that's for sure). He's going to kick himself when he's sitting around waiting for his phone to ring on draft day.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. Really, quite ugly. Why did he do this? Even with a great year nobody has really been talking about him, and he isn't about to leap-frog the top three in this draft. If there is a huge WR run he may go in the early second, but that's a huge drop from the mid-first where he could be next year. Idiot.
Zach Miller - TE, Arizona State (Jr.)
Walter: Miller has the size and speed NFL teams look for in a TE, but he surely does not have the consistent college production. Miller's talent is undeniable, but he definitely could have used another season in Tempe to refine his game. Still, without any first round Senior TE prospects in this draft, one can't blame him for jumping so soon.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad, slightly. Even though there isn't anyone better than him, Greg Olsen of Miami is a virtual clone. It's a coin flip as to who will go first, and it looks unlikely that either can sneak into Round 1. A productive Senior season at ASU would have made Miller a lock for the first round in 2008.
Frazier: Miller will be a solid NFL tight end for someone. But he isn't one of those "special" players. If I were him, I'd worry. Heath Miller, the great Virginia TE dropped to the end of the first round due to a hernia, so he couldn't work out. Well, Miller will get his work-out, but he isn't going to do crazy Vernon Davis numbers, so he won't be going too high. It's not that he's a bad player, he just isn't a special TE.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. He hasn't peaked. A great year next year would have done a lot of good, not a great year wouldn't have hurt him too much, since he has already shown himself to be a good, solid player. He denied himself a chance to really break-out.
Jarvis Moss - DE, Florida (Jr.)
Walter: Moss is the opposite of most of the playes on this list. His production this year was virtually unparalleled (especially in Florida's biggest games), but Moss is somewhat lacking in physical size. A big undersized to play DE in the NFL, and not fast enough to play OLB, Moss is somewhat of a tweener. Another year of conditioning and weight training in Gainesville would have assured him a spot in the top 20 picks for 2008. Still, with 4-3 teams starting to favor smaller, quicker DE, Moss may find himself in the top 20 this season.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. Moss could have been the Gaines Adams of 2008. Instead, he will battle Quentin Moses (who I think Moss is better than) to be the second speed oriented edge rusher off the board.
Frazier: Moss is going to apply pressure to the quarterback, and teams love that. He might be slightly undersized, but a lot of NFL teams are finding ways to make the Freeney's and Sugg's of the world viable threats, and Moss can be the same way. I think of Jevon Kearse who couldn't stuff the run to save his life, but was enough of an athlete to get the entire world in love with him. Moss can absolutely wreak havoc, and he is definitely a sexy pick.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. He's riding a wave right now. The hype will allow people to overlook his size. I don't think he's ever going to be a huge guy, and I think now was the time to strike. That Florida defense was too good for teams not to take a long, hard look at this guy.
name to show a picture of "Mossman"....
one of the great He-Man characters.
Reggie Nelson - S, Florida (Jr.)
Walter: Nelson has everything you look for in a safety prospect, and his game is incredibly well suited to the NFL. The only knock on his decision to go pro is the presence of LSU Sr. Laron Landry. As good as Nelson is (and as versatile as he is), he is NOT anywhere close to the prospect Landry is. As a general rule you don't see many safeties going in the first round, so I wouldn't be shocked to see Nelson fall to the top of Rd. 2.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Nelson is ready for the NFL right now, and his versatility to play either safety or corner make it easy to justify spending a first round pick on him. He won't go ahead of Landry, but he will go in round 1.
Frazier: Thanks to Polamalu and others, the safety position has a lot of teams drooling over prospects like Nelson these days. Teams have seen how a guy like Bob Sanders has the entire Colts defense looking better, and they think Nelson can do the same thing for them. He is a great athlete (duh, it's Florida) and is NFL-ready.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. He's going in the first round. Someone is going to absolutely love this guy. Tons of talent. Just plop him in your opening day lineup now.
Greg Olsen - TE, Miami (Jr.)
Frazier: Olsen is in an almost identical situation to Zach Miller. However, Miller produced far better than Olsen over their college careers. Both have ability, but neither are going to light up the combine like Vernon Davis did a year ago. Olsen is a fine prospect but he is likely to go after Miller, and would have been wise to return to Coral Gables once Miller declared.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. Unless Olsen has a strong combine and passes Miller, he will regret not returning and becoming the top TE for 2008.
Frazier: Olsen has never really capitalized on his talent. With Coker gone, and the chance to actually get to do something on offense, he would have been well-served to return. He really just hasn't done anything particularly impressive. He has good physical tools, but won't be blowing anyone away. When your favorite team picks him in the second round, feel free to feel good about that. But maybe you should feel a little bad for Greg.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. What did he do to warrant coming out early? He's been stuck spinning his wheels in that pathetic offense, and just when he has the chance to have a big year, and get some love, he decides to go pro and rely on his good, but not great, physical skills to get him drafted high. Ugh.
Adrian Peterson - RB, Oklahoma (Jr.)
Walter: Like Calvin Johnson, another no brainer. Peterson would have been the top RB available in whatever draft he decided to enter, and with his injury history getting to the NFL sooner rather than later makes a ton of sense. The biggest (and only) knock on Peterson will be his durability. By foregoing his Sr. season he avoids another big injury, and limits the mileage already on him.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Great. Peterson has already carried the ball far more than most Juniors. RB's have only a limited number of hits they can take in their career so he needed to get to the NFL ASAP.
Frazier: He's still in college? It's about damned time he declared for the draft. He has a ton of talent, but needs to prove he can stay healthy. He also has a lot more miles on the odometer than a lot of his peers. Another season in college was just another chance to get hurt lugging the damned ball so much, and completely ruin his draft chances. He's the first running back off the board.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Run Adrian, run! Get the hell out of college! He's the first RB off the board in a down year for them, and he's just glad to be out of Oklahoma. But he'll make an NFL team very happy, as long as that injury stuff was just a fluke.
Antonio Pittman - RB, Ohio State (Jr.)
Walter: Pittman is a very nice running back, but this was a bad move. I really like the way Pittman approaches the running back position. His running style will play well on Sundays, but he is more of a combo back than a true power or true speed guy. With the presence of Peterson and Lynch, I don't see any way Pittman even sniffs the first round. He'd better hope that teams looking for a running back in rd. 2 or rd. 3 aren't looking for a straight power back (Mike Bush) or a speedier third down type (Lorenzo Booker).
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. Another season at Columbus would have improved his stock dramatically. With a relatively weak crop of Sr. running backs in 2008, Pittman and Mike Hart would have been the head of the class.
Frazier: Pittman is a good, not great running back. If he returns he's the man in Columbus, getting tons of hype and all the rest. My guess is that he has a feeling the Beanie Wells was going to take his job, and destroy his draft chances. Otherwise, this decision makes zero sense. He doesn't do anything great, isn't a gifted athlete, and doesn't have ideal size. He's a serviceable NFL back, but nothing special.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. I was very tempted to call this "ugly" because he isn't going to be picked very high, so I wondered why he came out. But, if it's because Wells was going to take his carries next year, well, then it makes a lot more sense. He might fight to get into the first three rounds this year, but if he ended up splitting carries next year, well, he'd be more like a fifth rounder. So maybe it was a good move, for a guy who just isn't quite good enough. He heard the big footsteps, and bolted.
was Beanie Wells and not Beanie Siegel, the rapper
(pictured above), right?
Sidney Rice - WR, South Carolina (Soph.)
Walter: Another puzzling decision. Rice has the ability to be a top 10 pick, but his college production has been up and down. Once again, though, this analysis comes down to the fact that it's just a bad year to be a WR. Rice isn't going ahead of Calvin Johnson, and probably won't go ahead of Dwayne Jarrett. He will need to run well at the combine to go ahead of Ted Ginn. If he doesn't he will be the 4th WR taken, whereas he would have been the clear #1 guy for the 2008 draft.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. When Meachem declared, Rice lost his only competition to be the top WR in 2008. Even with the questions surrounding Jeff Samardzjia, Rice's production isn't strong enough to get him into the top 20 picks.
Frazier: Rice is a very good receiver, who hasn't gotten enough national credit. The reason for that is because there were a lot of WR's better than him this year. And they all declared for the draft. This is not a good thing for Rice. He wasn't facing a ton of competition next year, but this year he's got all he can handle. There is a 0% chance that he's one of the top 3 receivers off the board. That's certain. Of course, there was an 80% chance he would be next year (the other 20% due to the chances of an injury, or just a terrible season). Spurrier would have helped him get better numbers, and be a premier receiver next year. Whoops.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. Not a good year to be a wide receiver. There are just a slew of them this time around. He is going to struggle to stand out, but would have been the top returning player at his position next year. Choke.
Jamarcus Russell - QB, LSU (Jr.)
Walter: The no-brainer to end all no-brainers. I have been driving the Russell bandwagon all season and after his dissection of Notre Dame I am proud to say that there is no room left. While some could criticize Russell for coming out in a year when Brady Quinn was thought to be a lock for #1, Russell outplayed Quinn in front of a national audience and has assured himself of a top 3 pick. Considering that some people, myself included, believe Brian Brohm to be a better QB prospect that Quinn, even if Russell had stayed in school he wasn't guaranteed anything higher than a top 3 pick.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good, great, outstanding. Russell has everything you look for in a quarterback and has as good a chance to go #1 overall as he ever will (especially with Oakland picking #1).
Frazier: Russell has an absolute boat-load of physical ability. People are in love with his arm strength, and his accuracy was fantastic this year. It also doesn't hurt that he completely and utterly out-played his top competition for the first pick in his last college game. He is the sexy choice to be at the top of the draft this year. Also, he may have out-played Quinn, but Brohm may be better than both these guys. No, this was the right time for Russell. He is absolutely peaking right now. If he came back, he could only hurt his stock.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Aka, no-brainer central. His stock will never, ever be hotter. Buy, buy, buy!
Dollar Man himself, had an arm as bionic as Russell's!
Brandon Siler - LB, Florida (Jr.)
Walter: No doubt, Siler could have used some more seasoning under Urban Meyer in Gainesville. That said, we have a relatively weak linebacking crop in 2007 and Siler will be among the best. In my view, Siler is a lot like former teammate Channing Crowder. He has a ton of ability, but is a bit immature. He will struggle to get into rd. 1 in this draft, despite his talent.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Bad. Even though there are no guarantees he would have matured or improved his status with another year in college, Siler may be kicking himself when he is a pro bowl LB playing his 4th year under his rookie, 3rd round contract.
Frazier: Siler is an interesting prospect. He might not be the more polished guy on the board, but he was playing excellent down the stretch, and has a ton of raw talent. I tend to wonder whether he'll ever be a finished product. Guys who are superior athletes at the linebacker position often don't realize that they need to do anything other than run around. Call it the Lavar Arrington syndrome. Siler is going to fly, but he'll also over-pursue plays, get caught out of position, and all the rest. That being said, he is going to look very, very good at the combine.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. I like it because I don't think he's really going to "season" that much. He's riding a lot of good press from his recent play, and he's going to grade well at the combine. He was built for that sort of stuff.
Lawrence Timmons - LB, Florida State (Jr.)
Walter: Is there ever a bad time for a Seminole linebacker to declare for the draft? Timmons looks the part, and plays the part. He is an oustanding linebacking prospect who should be an absolute lock for round 1. That said, he isn't Paul Poszlusny and won't go in the top 10. Had he stayed in college, under the tutelage of Mickey Andrews, he may have been the preeminent LB in 2008.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Timmons is ready now, and with the strong track record of Florida State linebackers in the NFL, there is no chance he falls out of Round 1.
Frazier: If you gave Buster Davis Timmons' body, well, that would be good for poor Buster. Timmons is a good football player, and this isn't the best linebacking crop of all time. Frankly, I prefer the undersized Davis over Timmons (when I watched FSU play, which was more than I'd have prefered, I saw Davis on virtually every play. I cannot say the same for Timmons). That being said, Timmons is going to be a very good player. With Sims playing very well for Detroit, the prestige of 'Noles linebackers is still strong.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Timmons will go pretty high, will be a good player, and will make some team happy.
Darius Walker - RB, Notre Dame (Jr.)
Walter: An even more puzzling decision that Antonio Pittman. We here at the323 know that Walker was the most important player to the Irish offense all season, but everyone else in the world seems to think it was Brady Quinn or Jeff Samardzjia. As a Sr. Walker would have been the focal point of the offense and really would have exploded onto the national scene, and possibly the first round. I love the way Walker plays, but this decision was indefensible.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. It's going to take a really good scout to convince an NFL team that Walker is as good as he really is. Had he stayed for his Sr. year, and played on national TV every week as Notre Dame does, you're talking about a guy who NFL fans are clamoring for in 2008.
Frazier: I really like what Walker does. He's a good, heady player. He was the most important part of that offense. He was excellent receiving out of the backfield, and was totally underrated all year. Um, underrated players probably shouldn't declare early. With a young qb, and the Shark gone, Walker would have been the toast of South Bend. As it is, people really don't appreciate what he did this year. I'm not sure how that is going to change, since he doesn't have the huge measurables that would set him apart at the combine. Is it a deep year for RB's? No. But that doesn't make this the right decision. I think he just got sick and tired of Weiss criminally under-using him, and believing that you don't even need a running game. I'd have been frustrated too, but he's regretting this decision.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Ugly. Very ugly. He had a chance to finally get the respect he deserved, and position himself for next years' draft. He also doesn't have the Pittman excuse of having someone threatening to steal his carries. He just sick and tired of Charlie Weiss.
Eric Wright - DB, UNLV (redshirt Jr.)
Walter: Although not has high profile as Russell, Peterson or Johnson, Wright's decision was another no-brainer. Wright was ready for the NFL last season, his first after transferring from USC, and is the best defensive back most people don't know about. He is a first round talent and will likely be picked at the back end of round 1. His talent is undeniable, but the knock on him is, and always will be, character. Another year in college wasn't going to change that.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. Wright is as ready as he is going to be. Another year in college probably wouldn't have allayed doubts about his character enough to guarantee him a first round grade.
Frazier: He didn't exactly want to be in college. Also, as much as teams pretend to give a shit about character, defensive back is one of those positions where teams don't really care so much. They are stuck on their little island, and if they have the physical tools, that's what matters. If Pacman Jones can be a top ten pick, then Wright shouldn't have much to worry about. People are always clamoring for DB's, and frankly, there can never be enough of them. Last year's draft was a great example. If you're picking, and there's a can't-miss DB on the board, well, you're probably going to take him. So someone is going to Wright, and make him very, very rich. And he won't have to pretend that he gives a shit about college any more.
Good, Bad or Ugly? - Good. He's going to make a lot of money. Another year at UNLV wasn't going to change anything for this kid. Frankly, being in Las Vegas, that was just another year for him to go and do something stupid. Take the money and run.