I came across this story today about the NFL Draft. Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema is proposing the NFL to let undrafted players back to college. This to me is a no-brainer. His second part of the idea, is pure insanity.
Let any player who doesn’t like their draft position return to school (cue up record skipping off turntable). Excuse me? That is ridiculous, preposterous, and would be terrible for the draft. It would not only screw up that year’s draft, but the next one. It would have a snowball effect. One good thing is, it might keep kids in school longer. Each draft would get saturated from players returning from the prior year. Meaning, more kids would end up signing free agent contracts. Better to make the minimum, and start working towards that second contract than to risk injury in college.
There would be an awkward few drafts, where a certain percentage go back. The NFL would adjust. Maybe they would offer players a little more money to stay.
The other solution is simple: Stay in school. If you don’t think you will be a first round pick, you should stay in school. It probably means you didn’t show enough, or need more reps. It’s the universe telling you to prepare for plan B. Now this is not to say that you can’t have a great (and sometimes even hall of fame) career as an undrafted player. History tells us you can. Your road is just a lot more challenging.
You know what would be good? If the players got free representation from day 1. Marketing, brand building, financial advice, etc. This would help them make the best decision for them and their family. I know they can talk to someone before they come out and declare for the draft. Ultimately, if they don’t have the talent, no amount of council can help. The NCAA and the NFL definitely have the finances available to help out. I think in the end, that would boost the product on and off the field.