One thing that I am going to try to do as this week progresses is to relax a little bit, to get my legs back under me. It's always a good idea to be well rested when something as important as this is coming up.
Recently, I've been asked quite a bit about the draft. How do players know when they should think seriously about being a professional football player? Of course, as a college player, you know if you are doing well, if you feel comfortable in the game. Can you be an impact player? That's what you want to prove during the various Pro Days.
Sometimes the idea of trying for the pros comes from the college coach. Sometimes you hear it from the scouts who might be at one of your games. A lot depends on who sees you play, and how good your reputation is. If you are known as a good hard worker, a team player, who can produce good results on a consistent basis, your chances of being noticed are pretty good.
It's true that the players from the smaller schools can sometimes be at a disadvantage. Chances are, if you are at one of these schools, the scouts aren't going to see you on national television every week. You probably won't be on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Some scouts think that if you are playing in one of these divisions you can't be that good because the competition isn't there. That's not true. There is a very high skill level among players from smaller schools. If a scout thinks that way, he might see that you can play well, but he might wonder if you could go against the pros. It's up to you to show what you have and what you can do.
What do I think about juniors who are in the draft? It depends on their projected draft status. If a guy is a top rounder, I think he should go when he can. He can always come back and finish college later. This type of player wouldn't want to risk a senior year injury ruining his chance at the pros. For the college player who might be ranked considerably lower in the draft, it could be better to wait through senior year. That way you get more coaching and more playing time. The extra year of college ball could help you be a higher pick later.
I'm interested in reading about Byron Leftwich's try out. It's going on right now. He has terrific potential and I think he'll be one of the first quarterbacks selected. All of us keep track of who is doing what in this pre draft time. We want to know which player is doing well and who might be having problems. There's a lot happening now and it will only get more intense as draft day gets nearer.
Beth Gorr contributed to this article.
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Send Casey Urlacher your question about the draft or where he thinks he'll be plaing next year. Answers will be posted on bearreport.com before the draft.