Should college standouts skip NFL draft day?

March 16, 2011

Let them savor moment

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

If a top prospect is invited and wants to attend the NFL draft, he should.

Everyone understands there's visceral anger on both sides of the labor fight, and it's not uncommon for one side or the other to use pawns to gain leverage. But for these rookies-to-be, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Denying them this moment is childish and will have minimal impact.

Both the NFL and NFLPA agreed in the CBA to stage a 2011 draft, so honor that and move forward. Those of us watching from the outside understand what's going on in this money grab. This is no mystery. NFL owners and players are like a married couple going through a mock divorce. Everybody knows they're going to stay married in the end, and yet everyone is already tired of hearing each side whine about the other.

sfarmer@tribune.com

Don't buck the NFLPA

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

If you are Cam Newton, you really have no choice but to follow the "suggestion" of the decertified NFL Players Association and turn down the NFL's invitation to the draft.

After all, once you get to the NFL, you are going to need the NFLPA to help navigate your career, and you are going to need to have players, especially your teammates, on your side. Turning down the NFLPA's request would make you a rebel, maybe even an outlaw.

But it's unfair to ask these young men to boycott the draft. Being chosen high in the draft is an achievement that is worth celebrating and remembering. Why take that away from these kids? It's not like having Newton sit at home instead of traveling to New York is going to help the players in negotiations.

dpompei@tribune.com

Smart play is stay home

Mike Berardino

Sun Sentinel

Sure, draft day can be a memorable experience for a young football star. Who doesn't dream of slipping on the familiar cap and No. 1 jersey of your first pro team?

Unfortunately for those in this draft class, staying home is definitely the smart play this year.

With relations quickly turning toxic between the owners and players, this is no time to buck the union's reported request for college players to boycott the on-site draft. If that means missing out on a photo op with Roger Goodell, that's how it goes.

In a sport as violent as football, the last thing any rookie wants to do is be seen as the equivalent of a "line crosser" during a work stoppage. Better to stay home in the family living room and let the television cameras come to you.

Don't worry. They will.

mberardino@tribune.com

No, but they will

Ken Murray

Baltimore Sun

Skipping the NFL draft would seem to be professional suicide. Not only will no eligible player skip the draft next month, no one will consider skipping the draft.

This is strictly business. And it's clear from labor talks that both sides are ready to place limits on the bounty those high first-round picks get. If I were a high pick, I wouldn't be pleased about that.

But that's not a good reason to miss being on the big stage in New York City with Commissioner Roger Goodell. This is something most of these players have dreamed about their whole lives.

Besides, there is no union. The NFLPA decertified, so players are merely members of a trade association. Lastly, if the high draft pick can play, the veterans won't care what he did in April.

kmurray@tribune.com

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