High School Players Thinking NFL?

I have found it very interesting when I read stories with high school players talking about the NFL draft. For one, high school players should be thinking about prom, football practice or maybe even the SAT/ACT and not the NFL draft. There have been so many great college players that for a variety of reasons don't have the same success at the NFL level.

I worked for an NFL team for three years and the gap between college and the NFL is light years apart.

NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber of Scout.com has his early 2010 projections out and has four Florida Gators going in the first round. Brandon Spikes at No. 16 to Denver, Joe Haden at No. 17 to the Texans, Carlos Dunlap at No. 18 to San Diego and Tim Tebow at No. 26 to the Vikings.

What does that mean exactly? Does it mean those four players are going to the next level because they went to Florida? Surely, they had better exposure than players like wide receiver Johnny Knox and running back Bernard Scott both taken in the 2009 draft. Did I mention that both Knox and Scott played together at Abilene Christian?

The Miami Hurricanes had only one player drafted last year when the Atlanta Falcons decided to take a chance on inside linebacker Spencer Adkins. Will high school players take notice and NOT go play for the Hurricanes and instead play for Abilene Christian? I highly doubt it.

As a matter of fact Akron (3) and Albany (2) both had more players taken in the 2009 NFL draft than Miami. Which brings me to my next point.

To make this point I will look at the Atlanta Falcons and what they did in the 2009 NFL draft. In round three, the Falcons went with cornerback Chris Owens from San Jose State. In round four, they went defense again, this time with defensive end Lawrence Sidbury from Richmond. In round five, they went with another cornerback this time William Middleton from Furman. What's the point you may ask? Simple, if you have talent and can play at the NFL level you will get drafted and you will get your chance to prove yourself against the greatest football players on the planet.

With the NFL today, and throughout the years, we have seen time and time again if you can play, the scouts will find you. Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State), Lance Alworth (Arkansas), Marvin Harrison (Syracuse), Larry Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh), Roddy White (UAB) and Brandon Marshall (Central Florida) are just a few wide receivers that cover some of the games past greats and today's top performers from non-traditional powers. You check out the rest of Chris Steubers early projections for the 2010 NFL Draft.

Even when you put up monster numbers in college such as Graham Harrell or Chase Daniel you still might get passed up by NFL general managers. At what point did high school players start thinking about skipping high school and going right to the league? At what point did high school players stop looking at graduation rates with regards to respective college destinations and start looking at colors of NFL jerseys?

I love the fact that some high school players are thinking about the bigger picture. There is nothing wrong with mapping out your future. The problem starts when you use the NFL draft as a guideline to choose your college destination. The problem becomes even bigger when these same college coaches try to use the NFL draft to dangle in front of certain high school players.

Fightin Gators Top Stories