Johnny Manziel and 10 Underclassmen Who Should Have Stayed in School
Johnny Manziel aka "Johnny Football" is upgrading his celebrity status from superstar in college to what he hopes will be superstar in the NFL. The only problem here is that this kid has already peaked! He's not ready for the NFL and should have stayed for his senior year in college and improved. He is a human highlight reel in college, nobody can deny that. But is he ready for the NFL? Is he ready for linemen who are just as fast as he is? Is his college arm strong enough to get it to receivers who are much faster than his college targets? All these things are important questions we will find out next season.
Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are going to be no. He won't be ready to take over a team, put it on his back and win them games. It would be shocking if when he gets drafted, he even sees a single start his first season. Even if he goes to a team without a quarterback, you can't honestly say he is ready for the NFL. He will take a lot of time to become a quarterback who is capable of being a pro. It may never even happen! He might be another college star who just can't cut it in the NFL. This is the big boy league and Johnny Football is a college star.
Now, when you start to judge him off the field, his draft stock takes an even bigger hit. For someone who is so young to already be a celebrity and not always making the best decisions, general managers and owners in the NFL have to ask themselves, " Do we really want our back-up quarterback causing all this drama?" A smart team will say no and will steer clear of Mr. Football. He is just not that good of a quarterback and apparently can't control himself off the field either
Having said all that, one more year in college would be just what the doctor ordered for Manziel. He could improve his game and prove he is mature enough for the bright lights of the NFL. If he stayed out of trouble all season (asking a lot), won the Heisman Trophy (not asking too much) and worked hard all season to become the best quarterback out there, he could end up as the first pick in next season's draft. But like so many young players, they see the bright lights of the NFL and take off too early. Well, Johnny, you may have pulled the trigger too early, but there is always the Indoor Football League. How does Johnny Indoors sound? Rest assured, Mr. Indoor, there are countless other players throughout history who have made the same mistake you have. Here is a list of just 10 of your fellow collegiate players who, like you, made the jump just a little too early. So you'll have company at least.
10. Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney may be NFL-ready skills wise and physically, but the problem with him is his poor attitude and lazy work ethic. His draft stock was as high as it could go at the end of last season due to that bone-breaking hit he laid on Michigan. Everything after that has been downhill for this big Clown. The reason he is ranked as the 10th overall player who should have stayed in college is because he is physically ready and scouts have basically given him a pass for his poor play all season. Not sure why, but it is what it is! He will be a good NFL player if he fixes his attitude this offseason and gets back to playing football with attitude and toughness. But it would have been smarter to stay in college one more season and prove that he is worth a high draft pick, win the Heisman and end his college career on a positive note instead of being the lazy player he was all year, while hurting his team.
9. Storm Johnson
UCF's Storm Johnson took the nation by storm this year. Well, that's only true if you heard of him. He is a great player with a lot of potential, but he didn't get the recognition he would if he stayed another season at UCF. This guy could win the Heisman next year and be a top five pick in the draft. He has all the skills, but lacks the hype. There were scouts who didn't even know this guy until later in the college season. Returning one more season and putting on a show would make his draft stock soar through the rough. He would also be able to ready his body and his game for the next level. Storm should stay and rain on the college level for one more year!
8. Mike Evans
Mike Evans may be the best kept secret of any player this year. He had monster numbers in his breakout season for Texas A&M. The problem is it's only one season. He is a big receiver with great hands. He was Johnny Football's go-to guy all year and is gaining a lot of attention from scouts for the draft. One more season is just what he needs though. He used this year to get on everyone's radar. Now, he could explode next year and be a top pick in the draft the following year. But like his buddy, Johnny Football, he is going to risk it all and make the jump a season too soon. Good luck next year where everyone is just as big and physical as you.
7. Kelvin Benjamin
Kelvin Benjamin also had a great year and capped it off in the national championship with a huge catch. Unfortunately, he is going to rely on all the hype he gained in the last game of the season to hopefully boost his draft stock. He has the talent, but you could argue that playing with Winston inflated his numbers and Winston gets most of the credit for how great a year he had. Now, if he came back next season and duplicated this past year's performance, then you know he is ready for the NFL. But right now, as a scout, how can you be so sure he is as good as his numbers show? They could just be inflated due to the ACC and the Winston factor. Stay another year and prove yourself Benjamin!
6. Allen Robinson
You have to love a guy like Allen Robinson. He stayed around at Penn State despite all the turmoil. He learned a new system from a new head coach. He was still successful! But this is not the year to be leaving early as a wide receiver. There are way too many good receivers at the top of the draft to risk leaving early. Robinson should have stayed and put up even better numbers next year and got himself drafted in the first round the following year. The only down-side to him is that he just picked the wrong year to leave early.
5. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a shutdown corner and a great player. He is rated as the second-best corner in this year's draft and it makes sense why he would leave early. But staying another season would have been the smarter move for Ha Ha. He was suspended for two games this season and didn't show an entire year's work on the field. He is a lot better than his numbers showed this year and would surely be the best corner in next year's draft. He chose the money and maybe he will have the last laugh (ha ha), but for now the better move would have been for him to stay in school.
4. Tre Mason
Tre Mason had an amazing season and a great showing in the National Championship game. The problem with him is his size. He's just a little guy and historically little running backs aren't always successful in the NFL. He should have stayed in school, tried to win the Heisman next season and gotten bigger. Another full season of lifting is just what the doctor ordered for Mason, who isn't physically ready for the beating he will take in the NFL. That is, if he can get on the field. He lacks the size to even be trusted with the football as a rookie. He should have stuck around and improved himself physically before jumping to the NFL.
3. De'Anthony Thomas
De'Anthony Thomas will have the same problems as Tre Mason in the NFL. He too should have stayed in college one more season, battled it out for the Heisman and then made the leap to the NFL. He just isn't ready and another year of college would have been perfect for him. Plus, how many Darren Sproles-type players are there in the league? Not many and now two wannabes are leaving early trying to be the next Sproles. It will backfire for one or both of them.
2. Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater is a fool for leaving early and testing the waters of the NFL. He's not a pro-style quarterback by any means. So by leaving early, it just makes it worse for Teddy. The only way he will even get a chance in the NFL is if he proves he can put up crazy numbers (i.e. RG3). But the problem is only one season of this in college doesn't warrant a free pass in the NFL to show you can put up the same numbers you did in college. Yes, he has talent. But he won't be dominant in the NFL like he was in college. The only reason he is the No. 2 guy on this list is because the No. 1 guy lacks the hype that Bridgewater had all season. At least he was in the talks for Heisman most of the season and didn't come out of nowhere.
1. Blake Bortles
And here he is. The No. 1 college player who should have stayed in college and not stupidly left for the NFL. Blake Bortles of UCF. The first knock against him is he is a quarterback. What we now know about quarterbacks being drafted high to bad teams is that they do not succeed. They fail at an extremely high rate unless they're a select few who can make it. Bortles shocked the football world when he decided to try the NFL. He is leaving way too early and until a few weeks ago, we didn't even know who he was. If it wasn't for Storm Johnson, he wouldn't have even had a year worth noting. Regardless, he is an idiot for leaving early and ruining his chances of ever being a player in the NFL. He lacks the recognition, skills and clearly intelligence. This guy is going to be a bust for any NFL team who is dumb enough to draft him. These players never learn and this is what they get. Enjoy being the next Ryan Leaf!