COMMENTARY: Did Crichton make right choice?

SOME SAY THAT Scott Crichton opting to enter the NFL Draft early was a surprise, others say the signs have long been there. But all can agree on this: it's a blow to the 2014 Beavs. Taking emotion out of it, did Crichton make the right call on going pro?

I'm not so sure.

There are certainly many plusses that argue for Scott Crichton to go pro.

But there are enough question marks that make me think he would have benefitted more by returning to Oregon State for his senior campaign.

Crichton certainly had a good junior year. But it wasn't the great one that was forecast after a sterling sophomore season. His stats were mostly similar, but the biggest surprise this season regarding Crichton was that there were stretches where Crichton simply wasn't heard from. The Utah game was a terrific example of that -- unstoppable in the first quarter, rarely seen the three quarters after that.

Some of that was because he drew more attention this season. But some of it was not.

And that's an area he could have improved greatly upon by coming back for his senior season.

Also of key importance, next year's draft doesn't look as strong for defensive ends. And a dominant 2014 season could have pushed Crichton all the way to the top of next year's group.

As it is, Crichton is currently rated the No. 7 defensive end on's board for the 2014 draft, and they have him as a second round selection. A strong pre-draft showing could potentially push him into the first round, they say.

"Crichton possesses a well-built frame that does not lend itself well to flexibility, however, making him a bit stiff when changing directions. Further, he does not possess ideal straight-line speed for the position. His motor never quits, but he doesn't possess Clowney or Ealy's acceleration to tackle ball-carriers from behind," says NFLDraftScout.

Those are also things he could have further honed with a senior season at Oregon State.

Crichton, according to the Portland Tribune, did not file an applications with the NFL College Advisory Committee, which evaluates and projects players' drafting. And that's a head scratcher – why not have complete information, and the best tool that tells you where the NFL thinks you'll go in the draft?

That lends grist to speculation Crichton was going to go pro after this season no matter what. And usually, the school announces an early entry but Crichton's announcement first came via an email sent by his attorney.

Crichton and other early entries have until Jan. 18 to formally withdraw, so long as they haven't signed with an agent. But the chances of that for Crichton appear to be slim and none. And now the Beavs have a hold to fill out on the edge opposite Dylan Wynn.

Unlike Crichton, Beaver QB Sean Mannion did file an application with the NFL College Advisory Committee according to the Portland Tribune. The committee's report told Mannion he projects as a third-round pick. From this chair, I didn't expect him to be that high a choice -- and it would no longer be a big surprise if Mannion were to forego his final season in light of that projection. And if that were to turn out to be the case, Oregon State would need to start a quarterback in 2014 who has yet to take a snap at the collegiate level. Players have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft. UPDATE: Mannion announced moments ago that he will return to Oregon State for his senior season.

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