1/14/2009-NFL Draft Analysis Update

It’s McCoy Day here at Draft King, with one prominent McCoy returning to school and another riding the fence in the final days leading up to the deadline to declare early for the 2009 NFL Draft.

Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy, who had a great performance in Oklahoma’s losing effort against Florida in the BCS Title game, announced today that he is going back to school for his senior year. There’s no word yet from three of his teammates, QB Sam Bradford, TE Jermaine Gresham, and OT Trent Williams, who all might opt to leave school early for the NFL. At this point Bradford looks to be in the running to be the top quarterback taken in the draft (despite being a redshirt sophomore), likely battling with Georgia junior Matthew Stafford for that position. Stafford announced his plans to leave school early for the 2009 NFL Draft last week.

Sean Smith

Sean Smith helped Utah knock off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. (Icon SMI)

LeSean “Shady” McCoy, as of tonight, is reportedly still on the fence about either coming back for his junior year at Pitt or declaring for the 2009 NFL Draft. McCoy attended a year of prep school prior to joining Pitt in 2007, thus making him eligible for early entry into the league (being three years removed from his high school graduation).

Florida State safety Myron Rolle has decided to not enter the 2009 NFL Draft, and instead he will spend a year studying at Oxford with the Rhodes Scholarship that he won late last year. Rolle plans to enter the 2010 NFL Draft after a year at Oxford, which will create quite the unique situation next year.

The last high profile player to sit out a year before hitting the NFL was USC WR Mike Williams, who was on the losing end of the Maurice Clarett court challenge of the NFL’s “three years removed from high school” rule in 2004. Obviously Rolle is doing this under extremely different circumstances, and certainly he’ll hope to have more success in the NFL than Williams did.

Two underclassmen from Utah’s undefeated 2008 squad (the only FBS team to go unbeaten this past season) have announced that they are leaving for the NFL Draft: they are redshirt sophomore DE Paul Kruger and redshirt junior CB Sean Smith. Kruger is projected as a borderline first round pick (though I see him more as an early second round prospect), while Smith looks to be more of a mid-second rounder at this point. But don’t count Smith out entirely as a potential first round pick, as at 6’3″ 210 he has above-average size to go with 4.4 to 4.5 speed in the 40 yard dash.

A pair of key players from Southern Cal are still undecided on turning pro: QB Mark Sanchez and FS Taylor Mays. Both are attending spring semester classes, at least for now, but that is not any sort of definitive sign about what the future holds for either of them. Mays, at least in my estimation, would benefit greatly from going pro right now, whereas I see Sanchez having more upside in returning to school for another year as USC’s signal-caller. But those are merely opinions, and a number of factors, both football related and personal, will likely weigh into the decision-making process for both men.