Posted by Frazier
According to this article from the good folks at ESPN, Steve Slaton has decided to turn pro. Now, this decision may seem odd from a guy who gained 700 fewer yards and saw his per carry average plummet from 7.0 to 5.0. He definitely seemed a step slow all season, and was totally overshadowed by Pat White this year.
So why turn pro? Three reasons:
1) New coach. Who knows how the new staff will treat him. Who knows if the schemes will allow him to continue to be so proficient. Frankly, it's always a risk when a top prospect faces a coaching change going into his senior season. That's just a huge variable, and a lot of kids, understandably, don't want to risk it.
2) This year's running back crop. McFadden is a top 5 guy. Otherwise, the field is pretty fluid. Jonathan Stewart and Rashard Mendenhall are definitely the next two right now, but that's still pretty speculative. It's not an elite crop, and Slaton is certainly more decorated than those other two. He also possess good size, has proven to be a capable receiver, and is a good 40-time away from rocketing up draft boards. Does he have that kind of run in him? I don't know, but if Slaton feels he can burn a 40, and he's right, he'll make himself a very rich man.
3) Noel Devine. It's really that simple. Slaton has to be worried that Devine will steal carries from him next year, and he'll drop from a borderline first-round guy to a second day guy pretty quickly. If his stats continue to drop, more questions will come up. Noel Devine is an absolutely electric player, and Slaton is seriously in danger of being overshadowed by two guys in his own backfield. It's reminiscent of Antonio Pittman getting out of Columbus before Beanie Wells stole his thunder.
Is this the right decision for Slaton? We'll only know after he does some running. However, it certainly is understandable. His draft stock took a serious hit this year, and you never want to come out early after such a down season. Still, Slaton may be concerned that a bad showing next year would cripple his ability to get picked on the first day, or at all. If Devine steals carries, if the new coaches don't get the most out of that offense, or if Slaton didn't have a "down" year, but was in fact, exposed as a mediocre player, then leaving now is definitely the right move.