Another off season is here, and with it, another round of players declaring for the NFL draft a year or two early. Increasingly, players are deciding to pursue a paycheck from the NFL after just 3 or 4 years, rather than staying in college until their eligibility is exhausted.
Just this year, RB Miles Sanders, OL Connor McGovern, OL Ryan Bates, DE Shareef Miller, and DT Kevin Givens all announced that they would forego their final season at PSU and will seek to be drafted in April.
But that’s just part of the story. Every year, players also decide to leave the program and seek to play elsewhere in college - OL Sterling Jenkins and LB Dae’lun Darien both announced that they would be leaving the program and playing football in different locales next season.
So MMQB asks - how do you feel about players choosing to leave the program early?
Almost without fail, these decisions are made on a personal basis. All five of the early entrants made a choice based on where they may end up in the draft, and probably also factored in the amount of football they’ve played - Miller, Givens, McGovern and Bates have all logged a TON of snaps the last 3 years. That and the lure of a NFL paycheck proved to be too much for them to stay. Another year means another year for injury.
But if they stayed, might their draft stock have risen even higher?
And what of players that choose to leave the team, only to join a program somewhere else to play? What about Penn State wasn’t right for them? Was it a lack of playing time, a “carefrontation” or something else?
My own personal opinion is that it sucks for the program when kids leave early for the draft, as I’d selfishly like to see them tear it up one more time before heading for pay dirt, but that it’s most likely in their best interest - if, of course, they get drafted. For every Chris Godwin there’s a Garrett Sickels - again, these kids make these choices on a personal level, but it’s very obvious sometimes when someone should have stayed.
As for kids transferring out to play elsewhere, that’s a touchier subject. There are still perfectly valid reasons a player might leave - far from home, couldn’t quite grasp the scheme, what have you. But with the number of highly rated recruits coming in, expect to see a good amount of roster turnover every year. Players that are already third on the depth chart are now faced with fighting off another wave of blue chip youngsters, and may choose to head elsewhere. You might not like it, but that’s the business of winning.
Similarly, many of these blue chip players are expecting to play in the NFL some day. Not all of them will, of course, but the number of 3-and-done players will only continue to rise at Penn State, at least as long as they’re recruiting as they have been.
So all in all, I’m okay with players choosing to leave the program. Either they’re A) headed to the draft, and good for them, or B) they saw the writing on the wall and left to find a better fit on the field. Either way, Penn State prospers, as they can peddle a NFL pipeline, or replace a depth chart player with a potential star.
What say you?