NFL Draft Completed

For the first time since 2010, no former UH players were selected in any of the 7 rounds of the NFL draft. The question is, why?

There were 254 selections made in the 2013 NFL draft. That's 254 players from colleges around the United States, at all levels. And, for the first time since 2010, not a single one of them played for the University of Hawaii. Although we did have a handful of prospects that I thought had a pretty good chance to get selected, particularly in the later rounds, (Alex Dunnachie, Mike Edwards and Luke Ingram) none did. Edwards in particular I thought would get a look, since despite his small-ish size (he measured 5' 9" at the combine), he can return kicks and tackles well in coverage. I'm sure he'll get signed to a RFA contract (or at worst, will get a chance to join Chad Owens in the CFL.)

The bigger issue here, specifically with Edwards, is the decision-making and advisement that goes into whether a player stays in school or jumps to the draft early. You see countless examples (particularly this year) of where that's hurt. Matt Barkley. Montee Ball. B.J. Daniels. Le'Veon Bell. Geno Smith. T.J. McDonald. All of these guys ballyhooed juniors in 2012 who decided to return to school. All of them projected to be high draft picks last year had they come out early. And all of them taken in 2013 outside of the first 32 picks. Now it's true that being a first round draft pick isn't everything. There are players who overcome that to become stars in the league. And yet as Hawaii fans we all recall the tragedy of Colt Brennan. Had he left in 2006 after beating Purdue and Arizona State, he probably would have been a top 20 lock. Instead he stayed, took Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl, made millions for the school, and fell into the 6th round. Now after 3 years as a backup, he's back coaching at Kahuku and making appearances at UH sporting events. So while the fans will never forget what he did, that gratitude won't put first round draft pick money in his pocket.

Back to Edwards. There will be many who, in hindsight, will question his decision to go. And maybe they'd be right. Maybe this year, with an improved offense and another year in college, Edwards would have substantially increased his draft status. But history tells us different. Players can't make money in college and going pro has to be up to them. As much as I wanted him back, the rational part of me understands that pretty much the only person who benefits from it is me. And by me I mean the fans of the team. Edwards could get hurt. He could have a terrible year. He could get replaced in the starting lineup. And then he would be forgotten. We'd move onto the next big deal at corner and we'd forget that we were so happy when he made the decision to come back. Such is the life of a big-time college football player. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Best of luck to Edwards, Dunnachie, Ingram, and all of the rest of the athletes competing now for free agent deals with NFL teams. If you need inspiration, look to Davone Bess, who was in the exact same position you were after 2007 and just signed an $11 million dollar deal with the Browns. It can be done.

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