NFL Committee Told Ford, Hodges, and Evans to stay in school in December

On my professional teams blog there is a pro scout (of 30 Years) that comes on from time to time to discuss prospects. If you want to see his credentials, here is bio page: Dave Te' Thomas

Naturally I like to ask him about VT players. Here is what he had to say after I asked him about Isaiah Ford:

Ford blew it & so did the school. They are one of those teams that kick out "great" 40s & such. That is, until you put a watch on him. Ford runs 4.31, they said. Well, look at his combine & pro day & you wonder if the school ran him in a 30 instead of a 40.
Back in December, EVERYONE on the committee told all three of those young palyers (Ford, Hodges, Jerod Evans) they were not ready for prime time. Ford started the season great, but you never saw that "school speed" on any tapes. Hodges is raw, but could sneak into the end of Day Two thanks to his athleticism, but Ford & Evans are going to wish they stayed another year under Justin Fuente (my opinion - most underrated offensive mind in college not named PJ Fleck - a major rising star if ever there was on - Fleck) for another year. Day 3 for both - tell them to go fishing on the 27-28.

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Comments

This type of grade on Ford frustrates me. The only knock he refers to is his speed, and says he would have benefited from another year. Exactly how would that make him faster? He would have had the exact same scouting report next year IF he was fortunate enough to not get injured.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

That's why the Hokies need an Assistant Leonard. I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve. I can get it done.

Leonard. Duh.

That's a rough take. We'll see how it plays out, but that seems really weird for all of them to be told to take another year and all 3 of them ignore that advice.

It would not be the first time players from VT leave early only to see them disappoint in the draft.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

This is true, although as long as Ford doesn't fall to the 6th or 7th round, I don't think he'll have "disappointed" in the draft. I'm not sure where I expect Evans to go since non-starting QB's get drafted all over the place historically. Hodges, I am going to be pleasantly surprised if he is 2nd round.

Could an additional year have made a difference? Maybe - for Evans/Hodges I'd almost say "certainly". Ford? Ehhh, as mentioned, if speed is his main detractor, there's not much to be done about that other than shaving a few 100ths, perhaps.

If Ford falls to the 6th or 7th round, someone is getting a hell of a receiver for peanuts.

Always choose joy.

FWIW, I've seen a few mocks on NFL.com that went rounds 1-6 and did not have Isaiah in them.

I get torn on this subject b/c you look at 2 things:

Team success vs drafting success. When the team does better, does that help your draft stock? Chris Long (UVA) and Colt McCoy (Texas) might say it doesn't matter, while Johnny Manziel (aTm) might disagree.

Would anyone doubt that our team would be mighty dangerous next year if all 3 stayed? No, but how that impacts Ford's draft stock, I have no idea.

It would not be the first time players from VT leave early only to see them disappoint in the draft.

I could be wrong, but I do think it's the first time three starters left early in a single season, despite all (alledgedly) getting low draft grades.

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In Isaiah's case, I think we all basically knew he was gone after this season. I knew as soon as he made that catch over half the Boston College secondary. These committees can say whatever they want about him, but I believe whoever picks him up will be getting a steal. He has good open-field speed and good hands and is an excellent route-runner.

In Bucky's case, he has all the tools necessary to become the next Jordan Reed or Jimmy Graham. His fundamentals need some work, but getting that his rookie year in the NFL while making money makes a little more sense than doing it in college and not getting paid while running the risk of getting hurt. He has the speed and size and generally doesn't drop passes. He was very productive for us, and I believe he will be an excellent player one day.

In Jerod's case, as puzzling as the decision was, I get it. He's already 23 years old. A prospect's value decreases with age. Jerod is a little bit like Bucky in terms of the physical capabilities being there. Unfortunately for Jerod, though, Bucky's fundamental fixes will be much easier than his. He is going to have to learn to go through multiple reads in less than five seconds, and he struggled to make it through two last season. If there is anyone capable of working hard enough to achieve this, though, it's Jerod. Check out his cover photo on Twitter. He is one of the most success-driven players to ever put on a VT jersey.

While it sucks from our point of view as fans that these three are gone, it is ultimately their life and not ours. While I don't necessarily think an extra year in school wouldn't have benefitted them, I also don't think they will be as unsuccessful as this committee is saying they'll be.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Watching a lot of Skins games, I see Ford as good enough to be in Jamison Crowder's position at the next level. Unless I am missing something big in their size/speed measurables.

The Dude Abides

Crowder operates more in the slot (i think). Ford doesn't have that speed to do that (apparently).

I'm a Redskins fan as well. I see him more as a Pierre Garon type on the outside. Reliable hands, good route runner, good enough speed.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

The committee tells everyone not projected as a Round 1 or 2 pick to come back. So no surprise there.

I thought that was common knowledge. The draft grade for people leaving early is 1, 2, stay in school, right?

Ford only started the season great? He seemed pretty great all the way through to me.

They might be thinking about all the increased Cam catches towards the end of the season because they were double covering Ford.

Ford's productivity dropped off some as the season went on. Nicked up plus additional attention?

I personally think the vocal scouts, talent evaluators, and so called draft experts are a bunch of hacks that like to hear their own voice half the time. The people whose opinion really matter know its not in their best interest to speak out about it. Leaks that do get out are self serving or meant as some kind of leverage tactic. I guess we will know for sure in about a week.

Back to this scout attacking the school for exaggerating Ford's 40 time. It is quite possible Ford did run a lower time prior to packing on that last minute muscle. Also any scout that thinks that difference in 40 time is going to make or break the success of a wide receiver isn't much of an evaluator if you ask me.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

Let's face it VT has been known for exaggerating times, just like Florida was when Urban Meyer had basically a whole 22 man team running sub 4.4's on their board. I personally take anytime I see from VT and add .15 to the 40 time.

I clocked Marcus Vick at a 4.25, but mostly because Coach Whammy was clocking it. It was a fast time, but not that fast.

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Was that with or without police pursuit? That could mean the difference of a couple hundredths of a second

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Careful, you don't want a certain robot to come back and start arguing over Marcus agian

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

Haha....word has it Beamer set the 40 course on a downslope and in the direction of the predominant wind direction. That's why MV7 ran a 4.1, to which even VT had to add 0.15 just to make it look legit.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

How much of this is "hot air" and how much of it is intentional deflection? If you have guys that you think are valuable, it is in your interest for the other teams to think they're less valuable.

This is extremely harsh. A scout should also know better than to think someone is going to drastically improve their 40 time this far along in their career. You can shave hundredths with technique and form, maybe even a tenth if you really tighten it down. But at this point in Isaiah's career he knows how to run a 40 and he probably was not going to be any faster if he came back a year, that's asinine.

I really think that he was talking about how the production from both Ford and Evans could have gone up in another year in Fuentes offense, and because of that they would both have higher grades. I don't think that he thinks Ford is going to get faster over the next year.

Also I wish we wouldn't inflate times. It really is a turn off to everyone but the home team fan base. Maybe the school did a disservice by not trying harder to get them to stay since we haven't been pumping out many pro players in recent years. Getting some descent profile kids in the League would certainly help recruiting.

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I still disagree that Ford had much to gain from coming back. He had back to back 1000 yard seasons. If he comes back next year he maybe has 1200? 1300 yards? MAYBE. It looks a little better but he is already a very talented route runner and he isn't going to get faster. We (VT) would benefit from him coming back way more than he would. I just don't see how coming back would have made a significant impact on his stock at all.

As much as I would have loved to see Ford come back for his senior season. If he has graduated, he really doesn't have a great season to stick around other than loving the location, school, teammates, and maybe trying to be the first three time 1,000 yard receiver in school history.

I think all three would have benefitted greatly by staying another year in CJF's offense, especially Evans.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

While I know we have historically exaggerated 40 times, where did he see anything about Ford running a 4.31?

@Fightin_Gobbler

Go Hokies

Go Falcons

I was under the impression that as freshman both Ford and Phillips had 4.5+ times and that their ability had more to do with great route running, vision and skillset instead of raw athleticism. Any decent scout should have known what they were getting with Ford for a couple years now.

This guy will eat shit. Ford is going in Round 2, Hodges will also. Evans as we all know should have stayed a year, but he'll be somewhere around a 6th rounder.

Look, I also believe Ford is being undervalued, but many on here were saying Kendall Fuller still had a 1st round chance last year after his injury, and he dropped all the way towards the end of the 3rd round. People also said Logan Thomas should have been a 2nd round at worst pick, and dropped to the 4th.

We have a tendency to think our players are better than the NFL thinks they are coming out of college.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

Kendall Fuller is a bad example. He was a victim of the injury collusion NFL teams do to pay them less (this happens both with injuries and character issues) despite getting all positive reports from medical personnel regarding his injury. He was 100% a first round corner before the injury and it is still a travesty he fell as far as he did.

"Injury collusion?" Really? NFL teams are intentionally passing on players they think are talented to uphold some conspiracy?

That made it sound like a huge conspiracy but in reality this happens too consistently to not be a thing. They all collectively save money and it's less risky. It happens with talented players with character concerns as well. There were 20+ (maybe all) teams lined up for guys like Burfict and Blount, but they were UDFA because the teams could get them for dirt cheap if nobody drafted them. There was never any doubt those guys would be NFL starters. I am usually very against "conspiracy" driven narratives, but given the NFL owners and managers handling of pretty much every money related issue with players, this is well within the range of being feasible.

Sound like they are minimizing their risks by playing someone less money with questionable histories (Personal/Injury), which is a good business at the end of the day.

Any of those guys could be late round draft picks too. Some just don't check out.

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It's a good business practice, but in the way it plays out (even more specifically with guys like Blount and Burfict) those guys were going to play in the NFL and were 10000000000000% surefire draft talents (for sure R1-4 talent), it is unlikely all 32 teams, many of whom wanted them on their team, all failed to spend a draft pick on them without some level of knowing nobody else would draft them.

Yeah, but, what do they gain from letting him fall out of the draft? If a team thought a player was worth a 7th round pick they'd spend a 7th round pick on him.

Even if "20+ (maybe all) teams lined up" for a guy, only one of them can get him in the end, and if there's truly that much interest there's likely to be a bidding war. There is absolutely no reason for a team to wait on that guy if he's the most valuable player (in their opinion) left on the board, if their goal is signing him to a rookie-minimum contract.

"10000000000% sure fire" - Hindsight is 20-20. If it were that easy to project NFL starters why was Tom Brady a sixth round pick? A conspiracy? The player with the most Super Bowl rings ever? With the league cracking down on character issues like never before, plus the uncertainty regarding these players effect on your locker room, plus the uncertainty of college talent translating into the NFL (despite your assertion to the contrary), obviously teams were scared off and used their picks elsewhere. The conspiracy angle is ridiculous.

Sure hindsight is 20/20, but there was little doubt about their talent if you ever had the opportunity to watch those guys in college.

Also, I'm not really trying to perpetuate a major conspiracy here, I opened that door up on accident and I could not care less if you think it's ridiculous. I personally do not hold a high opinion of NFL ownership and management, particularly as it pertains to player rights, well being, and how little voice the NFLPA actually has.

"Little doubt about their talent". There are hundreds, thousands of fast, strong guys out there every year. Will they make it in the NFL? That's where all the other factors come in and guesswork begins? Can you work hard, harder than you've ever worked before? Can you watch film? Are you dedicated? Can you stay out of jail/other trouble? Can you get along with others? On and on. Talent is one of many factors

I might be missing a key factor but how are they saving money by doing this? They still have to use the picks and therefore pay other players a pretty standard amount of money, no?

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

As an UDFA, they most likely got a bigger contract than a 6th or 7th round pick.

Burflict and Blount had reputations for off-field issues even in college, with Blount getting cold-cocked after the Boise State game by another punk, so that had to play into why their draft stock dropped. Still surprised it fell to the point of being undrafted, but character matters to the NFL, or at least that's what they want us to think.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

I'm pretty sure it was Blount who threw the punch

Knocked the dude out too.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

As scummy as it was do do that, that was a damn good strike.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic.

Right on the button. He shouldn't have hit him, but the Boise dude was in his face taunting him right before he hit him.

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic.

it was the definition of talk shit, get hit. I always assumed the Boise player said something pretty bad because everyone reacts to what he said

Any trash talk before or during the game is to get in someone's head. Any trash talk after the game is to get in someone's face. He got exactly what he was looking for.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Good follow through. My recollection is that they were walking past each other across the field after the game and he had at least 15-20 feet to line it up, and Boise didn't see it coming at all. +1 for form and follow through, -1237891 for sucker punching a dude while the punchee's helmet is off and the punchor's helmet is on.

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." -Jay Bilas

People said that about Logan after his sophomore year. Nobody thought that when he ended up going pro.

I'm saying that about Ford because most other scouts are saying that. This guy is the first to knock Ford at all about coming out of school early. Pretty sure all of us who are high on Ford aren't just drinking Kool Aid.

I think it's more that we can't possibly have a macro view of all the available players.

I know why Bucky went pro, he wants the money. But going after only 1 year as a split out wide receiver is going to cost him. His outside blocking, route running, and catching on the run could only have improved with a second year lined up outside.

To the teams looking at him as a WR, he has only one year of production as a WR with so so blocking, route running, and catching on the run.

To the teams looking at him as a TE, he has a couple of years of okay production as a TE with so so blocking, and not much else in an offense that didn't hit the QB as much as it should have.

I'm not sure what Ford could do in his senior year to improve his draft stock. He's not going to run a 4.3 overnight. He'd probably be a 3rd round pick in the 2019 draft only he'd be out a year's worth of money.

Similar to the reasons I thought Dadi should have left after his Junior season. He wasn't going to get bigger and he was still going to have to transition to a 3-4 OLB, even with another year playing at VT (at end, of course).

He could have put on another 10-15 lbs.

Yes, he wasn't likely to get faster or develop better body control. But, as I've said here before, he was a true Jr. going up in the draft against a bunch of guys 2 (and sometimes 3) yrs more physically mature. And he certainly could have made some improvements in his route running and, in particular, his yards after catch (which goes back to being more physically mature).

Ford has neither the extraordinary speed nor size that NFL teams want. But if he gets closer to ideal in the size aspect, his draft prospects probably would have improved to the turn of a round or so higher in the draft - which means 2x the $$.

On paper, Ford should have stayed. Those who think this scout was being overly harsh need to remove their O&M glasses.

Have you seen him recently? He put the 15 lbs of muscle on easily.

He still looks quite wiry compared to NFL receivers.

Again, take off the the O&M glasses. The scout's comments are a lot more right than wrong.

He already runs routes well. Any improvements there would be marginal. He'd never have the height and speed to be a 1st round pick. NFL teams draft on potential as much as they do college production. If he waited a year he'd be pushed down by the crop of juniors that will come out next year. Plus there's the time value of money- even if he earns more by waiting a year, he never gets the money back he could have earned.

He's a good route runner, but not a great one. There was certainly room for improvement. Given his lack of freak speed and/or size he needed to be superb at as many things as he could - and IMO the only things he was truly superb at was body control and, perhaps, hands.

Player A: 30 games, 114 catches, 1729 yards, 22 TDs
Player B: 29 games, 210 catches, 2967 yards, 24 TDs

Player B is Ford. Player A is John Ross. Ford was more productive in college and is more polished but Ross is going to be a first round pick because Ross has what NFL teams want- ludicrous speed. Ford's college numbers were better than Mike Williams's numbers but Williams is likely a first round pick because he's bigger and that's what NFL teams want. Ford's lack of physical gifts put a hard ceiling on where he would go. NFL teams aren't that concerned about route running or blocking because those are teachable things, and they've shown an arrogance about being able to teach those things. If Ford stuck around for another year he'd still have the same weaknesses and would still end up a 3rd round prospect behind guys who can run 4.4, assuming he didn't get pull an Exum and get hurt and wreck his value entirely (which is another significant risk).

Ford has played in more than 29 games for those stats....try 40 games. Your point still stands the NFL is about certain skill sets moreso than production in college. I can't speak for John Ross, but I doubt he was counted on as a true freshmen to carry the load at WR due to poor depth as well.

That was a math error on my part because I stink at math. Ford has played in 39 games, Ross 40. I should never add things on my own without a calculator.

It's not just Fords measurables. He was very Consistentbut not very explosive/exciting. He had very few wow plays. Fans wanted to say he was better than Tyler Boyd at Pitt who despite similar measurables was a Highlite tape who did everything. So u can go high but need big play abilities and versatility
Ford never even ran sweeps or kicks/punts. Boyd was All American wit same measurables but was 1st round type who fell to 2nd because of a DUI gping into his final year. Ford is a great talent and even better kid but not round 1 or 2 guy. I think 4th is where he will fall.l

I can't hear Ford and Pitt in the same sentence without thinking of this:

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

He really did a great job of pushing off to get that...

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

pushing off? You mean when the defender was holding down his right hand while going up for the ball? That's textbook pass interference if I've ever seen it...oh I get it. :-P

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

I agree, and that scout's prognostication into when they will be drafted is probably spot on, with both Hodges and Ford being lucky to get selected before the start of Round 4, and Evans being probably a 6th or 7th Round pick, at best.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

They say 4 out of 3 people are bad at Math.

We put the K in Kwality

You may be thinking of "meth".

Yeah, but I bet 3/4 of those people actually are bad at math.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

Interestingly only 2 of the top 10 leaders in receiving yards last year were 6'3 and above (Mike Evans and Julio Jones). Most were hovering around 6' 200lb. He could stand to break 200 pounds (and I think he has considering they still list him at his 2016 weight of 194), but his height/weight is in line with the top receivers in the league.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/receiving/sort/receivin...

I thought he checked in at 6'1" 194lb at the NFL Combine?

On paper, Ford should have stayed. Those who think this scout was being overly harsh need to remove their O&M glasses.

+1. I don't put much stock in what McShay or Kiper say, but I think the NFL scouts are typically pretty accurate; this is their job, and their salary depends on it.

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There's also the counter argument that suggests that scouts who are infatuated with measurables ending looking stupid a lot. Exhibit A: JaMarcus Russell. Remember, Jerry Rice ran a 4.7 at the combine.

The question they should be asking: can he play the game?

40 times and measurables are no indication the guy will be a stud in the NFL.

For what its worth, this guy doesn't put as much stock into stats. He uses them as part of the formula.

What's
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Counter: Yeah but you used two examples of guys not panning out to support your point. That's not a good P-sample at all.

"You can't coach size" etc, so there's a premium on that.

So if Ford came back, he would likely not drastically improve his 40 time, which seems to be the biggest knock; would likely not see a big improvement on his numbers, having a very good Ankle Assassin on the field with him, a new QB (although that was not known when he declared, at least not known to us, Ford may have known), and he would have been facing double coverage the entire season; and on top of that a whole additional season of risking significant injury....where is the plus side to coming back, from an NFL perspective?

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Ok let's say they all come back. We would be a legit title contender this year. We would have a good chance of getting some great national exposure, because we would A) Be ranked fairly high B) Could repeat as Division Champs C) Because of QB play, probably be favored against let's say Clemson. The bigger national exposure would surely help all 3 players.

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And they would have been playing a schedule that included regular season games against WVU and Clemson, with a likely ACC title game against Clemson or FSU. There would have been more than enough opportunity to prove themselves and raise their draft stock in high profile games.

Sure, their raw abilities might not have improved, but it would have given the scouts more of an opportunity to see what they can do against top competition and move themselves up the draft board. Instead, they cashed out when many say they should have let things develop more.

The closer I get to the draft and the more I hear about them all, the more I worry that one of the 3 might not even get drafted. That would be a monumental blunder if it happened, and would look poorly upon the coaches who (at least publicly) encouraged them to make that mistake.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

The playing against elite competition argument is bogus. D2 and FCS guys get drafted constantly and have never played so much as the equivalent of 1 ACC schedule much less 3 years worth, and never been on national TV EVER. There's film to watch, evaluations made, pro days, measurements, timing, drills, interviews, and then basically guesswork on the part of the teams with a large pool of candidates. At this point for Bucky and Ford one more Clemson game won't make or break them

The NFL Draft advisory is flawed in a sense, from the perspective that they only three grades: potential 1st round, potential 2nd round, or neither (i.e. "stay in school"). The problem with this rating system is that a player like Ford is never going to be a 1st or 2nd round pick due to his speed. His speed isn't going to change in a year, and while it's possible another productive season in college would bump him up the draft board slightly in 2018 as compared to 2017, he'd be forfeiting a year of NFL pay and- more importantly in the big picture- a year of NFL service that puts him closer to his 2nd contract that is not capped like a rookie contract. So, even though he is unlikely to be a 1st or 2nd rounder in 2017, it still made complete sense for him to enter the draft.

I do think Bucky would likely have benefited from another year in school, but there was almost as much downside as upside in coming back, so I fully expected him to go pro and do not see this as a misjudgment on his part.

Of the trio, Evans clearly had the most to gain by coming back for another season, but with everything he went through just to get to this point, I can understand him wanting to take his chance at the NFL while healthy and coming off a highly productive season. Sure, if he came back to school, had another productive season and improved his footwork and mechanics, he'd improve his draft stock a ton, but on the flipside if he tore his ACL again, he wouldn't get drafted at all. While an insurance policy could protect the loss in future earnings, the payout would be limited based on his draft advisory grade, and further, it only helps financially and does zip to give him back his dream of playing in the NFL.

I don't think the scout's takes are wrong in terms of where they'll be drafted (other than I could see Ford potentially going on day 2 in round 3), but for reasons that vary from player to player, I do understand why they made the choices they did.

If Jerod hadn't been our leading rusher last year, do you think he might have had a different attitude towards coming back? I think that weighed on him because he did take a lot of hits.

I know that's been an area of debate, but personally I don't think it factored much into his decision. This is conjecture on my part, but my guess is his mind was pretty set before that season that he'd try to make the jump if he made it through the season healthy & had good production.

I think his personal situation and that Belk Bowl shopping spree factored the heaviest into his decision.

I'm choosing to blindly throw on my O&M glasses and fully believe that Jerrod left because he knew he was going to be outplayed by JJ this year and wasn't going to be the starter. No knock whatsoever against Jerrod. Had he been here more than a year he would have been on the list of much beloved Hokies. But this is what my heart and blind optimism for a spectacular year of Hokie football requires. So I'm shotgunning that kool-aid.

I think Ford will go in 4th round

I thought his numbers would get him a 4th/5th look but from a skillset position 6/7 about right

I wanna know who's gonna take Sam

Sam has Patriots written all over him.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I could see the Panthers taking a chance on him. They let Tolbert walk, so they're in need of a FB.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

More and more teams are deciding they do not "need" a fullback. A growing number of them are transitioning to an H-back, which is usually a tight end, and will shift the H-back to the fullback spot in the formation if needed.

I don't think I would group Carolina there. They liked to use Tolbert as a pretty typical FB whose primary assignment was to block for Newton, but would also be a legitimate weapon out of the backfield. Assuming his blocking game remains strong, I could see him being a very useful addition to their offense, especially in the way they prefer to grind it out on the ground.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

I thought the major knock on Rogers was his blocking game? Which to me means he's more like Tolbert than not.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

It's not like Tolbert was really a fullback anyhow. I mean they tried to use him as one sometimes but I felt he left a lot to be desired in most of the traditional roles. So Sam kinda fits the Panthers mold in that regard. I would personally love to see it but I also don't want to find myself pissed off at the Panthers again if they were to cut a Hokie off the roster, as they did with Boykin when they were seemingly barebones at WR.

Not that Sam Rogers would ever be cut, of course.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Ehh Boykin was pretty much done at that point anyway. I give the Panthers a big pass, not only as being a fan, but also because they turned Jeff King into a pretty good NFL TE and made a nice career for James Anderson. Though, I'm still a bit ticked off they passed on Kendall about eleventy times when their biggest need in the draft was CB last year.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

My issue with the Boykin cut was that Bersin was retained. I honestly don't think Bersin is better than Boykin at playing football from any angle.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

As someone who lives in Washington

As someone who doesn't live in Washington... My condolences about your teams

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

I don't particularly care about Hockey. Neither do I for Baseball. But Basketball is looking good, and Washington hopefully won't mess around too much anymore for Football, but I guess that remains to be seen.

So what exactly are your condolences for?

Love the enthusiasm buddy but the Skins don't even have a GM. When your front office sucks as bad as the Skins, you have no hope. I for one will accept Alum07's condolences. With that said, #HTTR and #DCRising

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." -Jay Bilas

THIS JUST IN. DAN SNYDER CRYING:

More and more teams are deciding they do not "need" a player that is 50 pounds overweight

FTFY

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." -Jay Bilas

This. Ain't no way he played at 245 last year.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

If Sam Rogers makes an NFL team, it will be because he can contribute on special teams. That he can do some things offensively will be secondary.

That is why the potential interest from the Patriots (At least among Hokie Fans). They have a weird collection of players that can do a lot of different things and don't mind being a special teams and trick play specialist.

Do they really have any really weirder collection than many other teams - particularly non-starting 22 guys? And are there any low round picks/UFE's that mind collecting an NFL paycheck as a special teams specialist?

Pretty sure almost every team has a backup for each of those 22 guys on the field, plus a kicker and punter, so that's 46 of your 53 already. On top of that they usually have an extra RB due to the physical wear and tear they take, an extra lineman, a couple extra CBs for nickel and dime packages, and fill out the roster with a few TEs and WRs for flexibility of the offensive packages (goal-line vs spread 2-minute drill). Not much space left for "special teams ulitity players", which is why the Patriots have gone out of their way to be creative with some of their packages (using LBs as TEs/FBs, using "utility" guys as RBs or slot WRs, etc). This is why Sam fits best on the Patriots, as they have more experience finding extra roles for lesser-used players. As much as I dislike seeing all the success they're having, I respect the system they've put in place.

Sadly, I think you're right. Also sadly, I'm not sure he'd be successful with any other team, since "creativity" isn't exactly in the vocabulary of most NFL coaches, and it'll definitely take a "creative" approach to get him involved in the NFL.

If it wasn't for Green Bay having drafted a fullback very recently, I'd love to see him there. I see him as a Patriot or Steeler otherwise

I think Ford made the correct decision. As stated above, what could he possibly to do elevate his stock? He will probably get drafted late and then be a very good and steady playmaker for someone. He's going to be fine even if he doesn't get his money during the draft.

Evans and Hodges on the other hand probably won't have productive NFL careers (only an opinion here) and will need to make their money in the draft. Bucky certainly has the measurables, but he simply doesn't appear to have the toughness (he goes down way to easily), ball skills, blocking skills, etc. of those good NFL TE/WR prospects.

Regardless of their decisions and the outcome, they are still Hokies that I enjoyed watching over the past couple of years and will pull for them no matter what.

Is it football season yet?

I still think there's a better than even chance that Cam Phillips ends up with the most productive NFL career of him, Ford, & Hodges.

Draft "analysts" have been weirdly pegging Ford as a "speed receiver" for over a year now. Everyone who has actually watched him knows that has never been his game or best asset. But somewhere along the line he picked up this national perception as a "burner" and was immediately discredited when he didn't run a fast 40.

None of the media outlets expect him to go high but I fully expect a team that has actually scouted him and not just read Walterfootball is going to take him earlier than most expect.

Without ever watching him play, they assumed he was a speed receiver because he's rail skinny.

In a mock draft with 31 other GMs as Pittsburg (Not my team). Bucky went in the second to ATL and that's it. Isaiah and Evans are still on the board in the 6th round and I'm going to pick whoevers left with my pick. Hoping it's Isaiah because he could be a possession receiver opposite Brown that would compliment their receiving core (not as a rookie obviously)z

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Oh hey Captain Obvious

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Even going back to high school I have never read or heard from one person that Ford ran a low 4.3 40... In fact, I have never heard anything less than a 4.5.

Yeesh... The latest from Mike Mayock after talking to league sources has Jerod Evans going undrafted.

That would be a gut punch

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

I really don't know what Evans was thinking. He would have been the front runner to keep his job as QB, he would have broken even more records at Tech. Most importantly he would have had 2 years performance for the draft board to look at.

Would have also carried it another 210 times and on a leg that's been through some ACL damage, he thought a clipboard holder or practice squad looked might fine.

Always choose joy.

I have no idea if this is correct, but there are signs that money is a factor. So let's assume it is. Even if he gets picked up as an undrafted free agent that could mean a sizable payday for someone who has never seen money like that.

that is 100% speculation.

either way, it's his choice to make for the reasons he had. I'm more glad that VT was in a position to help him get there and he was in a position to help us in a transition year.

good luck to him and looking forward to jackson, hooker and/or bush

Saw a 7 round mock draft on NFLs website but they had Bucky going to Denver in the 3rd round, rogers to Atlanta in the 5th round then McLaughlin to Green Bay in the 7th round no ford or Evans at all I'm hoping they're wrong but man that would be tough not seeing those two drafted

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

They didn't follow the standard advice:

3 rounds down, and we're still waiting to hear the first name.

Looks like this scout was right... And considering he said Bucky might go 3rd round, even he might have been too optimistic. This really sucks for VT, but more importantly it really sucks for the 3 players.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

And? It is irrelevant. Brady went in 6th round. Ryan Leaf was the number 2 overall pick. Draft position is only 1 of many factors. It's an immediate money factor but not the overall success and money factor.

Its relevant if they dont make the team their career could be over. These guys will make it, Bucky has the size that is rare, Ford has some special talents, and Evans is a QB will be enough to keep them on a team. But I remember lolUVa had some guys leave early during the Groh years, didnt get drafted high enough or not at all, and their career was over. If you are drafted in the first 3 rounds you get a 3 year contract. Anything after that and you have to make the team or hope somebody else signs you. Big difference, if I had no guarantee to go in the top 3 rounds, why leave? Like I said I think these guys do have some things going for them that will keep em on a team but that is not always the case. At least if you stay in school you get to play for one more year.

Getting drafted is not a guarantee you are going to make the team. If you have a degree then try and make it. Maybe they don't want to play for "free" anymore(I know it's not free but you understand) . I have not heard a compelling reason yet why Ford or Hodges should have stayed, and Evans had as good a shot this year as next and has significant past injury and age concerns

I think the main reason (that I see) is the idea that with those three back VT would be loaded with talent and would have potential for a season to be in contention for the playoff. That publicity and attention to such a successful season would translate to the three being viewed more desirable by NFL scouts and drafted high.

Whether that would actually happen I have no idea but that is the reason I have gotten from people's comments. Some also feel that Bucky and Jerod particularly would have benefitted from another year to hone their skills.

Obviously I would have loved to have them back but once they decided for the draft I've just been hoping for the best for them. Having three rounds go by without any of their names being called is disappointing.

Like you, I've seen a lot of people mention the potential for a better team in 2017 and equating that with improving draft position for these guys, but the reality is team success has virtually no impact on a player's draft position. Also, these guys have played in a ton of high publicity games in their careers (esp Ford & Bucky). There are plenty of players who have already been drafted from less successful teams with much less publicity. Our guys draft position is in no way a function of being underscouted or overlooked.

This is completely correct. I watch a lot of college football and there have been several guys drafted so far I'd never even heard of.

If you are drafted in the first 3 rounds you get a 3 year contract.

Every draft pick will get a 4-year contract, regardless of round. 1st round picks also have a 5th year team option (note- this is generally to the team's advantage because if the player pans out, they can lock him into another year at a reasonable contract before he hits FA. If he doesn't pan out, the team doesn't exercise the option.) The guaranteed money drops off the further you get into the draft, which I think is what you're referring to, and is an important consideration. Signing bonuses are always fully guaranteed though and even in the 4th round that's going to be in the $400-600K range.

if I had no guarantee to go in the top 3 rounds, why leave?

Because (a) the AAV of even a 7th rd pick is about $600K and (b) there is no guarantee you'd go in the top 3 rounds the following year either. Meanwhile you've forfeited a year of NFL salary and service which would put you closer to a 2nd NFL contract. Unless a player is very confident they'd go significantly higher in next year's draft by coming back to school, this decision is much more nuanced than drawing a line in the sand at a certain round.

The top 3 rounds dont get guaranteed contracts? I thought that was the rule at one point. I know being drafted late is not much of a guarantee. I thought Ford would have gotten a little more respect as a NFL prospect, I dont see his stock going up if he stayed. Hopefully he goes early today. Bucky should get drafted and make a team, but he could have improved his stock by coming back. I just have a feeling teams will want to stay away from Evans. There isnt enough there to feel great about. If he had stayed in school and proved himself again, won a lot of games, as a senior he would be hard for a team to ignore.

My guess is Bucky goes first, he has a lot of physical gifts that arent that common. Ford is nice, we all like Ford, but there is a bunch of 6'2 receivers out there with decent speed. He does do some things very well. I feel 6th round for him. And I would not be surprised if Evans doesnt hear his name called, maybe somebody will take a late chance because of his position. Anything earlier than 6th round Id be surprised.

No one in the NFL has a guaranteed contract. If you get cut you don't get paid. The NBA and MLB, are different.

Well I thought the rookie contracts were the only guaranteed ones. I know it wasnt like the baseball and NBA and thats a good thing. I read just now online that first 4 rounds are guaranteed after that only the signing bonus is guaranteed money.

To clarify for you-- the players at the top of the draft get the highest % of their contract as guaranteed money and then it decreases as you move down the draft. By the end of the 4th round (and then thru the remainder of the draft), only signing bonuses are guaranteed. But 4th round draft picks don't get fully guaranteed contracts. Their bonus will be guaranteed and beyond that, at best they will have 1 season guaranteed.

At pick 186, Chuck Clark will get a $175K signing bonus (guaranteed). If he makes the team, he'll make an additional $465K this season (~$640K total this year). If he plays out his rookie contract, he'll make ~$2.5M over 4 years.

All I care is that Chuck gets drafted so we can add another year of DBU putting a back into the NFL.

The Redskins are loaded with late round picks and have Coach Gray as their DB coach. It'd be interesting to see Gray and his pupil reunited and to see another VT DB get drafted.

All 3 should have stayed in school, imho. Ford needed another year at the WR1 and Bucky needed to get better at blocking.

Chris Cooley on ESPN 980 in DC said Bucky has great measurables but isnt a blocking TE. Anyone think Bucky could be moved to WR in the League?

Pour some Beer on it

Bucky and Ford could have improved their route running. Bucky could have been like Engram if he learned all the WR positions.

Jerod can't get past the first read. He had a ton to work on.

What's
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Ford's route running is arguably his greatest strength. It's his speed that's holding him back.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

There is not one thing that is going to factor into a draft decision, There have been other guys drafted high who lacked Speed. I have always said that it was a disservice to Ford to not play special teams returner or at least run more jet sweeps. A non elite skill player must do more than their primary job at the NFL level.

Q: Why was Ford never a returner, and ran mmmmaybe 3 jet sweeps in his time in Blacksburg?

A: (lack of) Speed.

Slow guys don't get to return kicks and run jet sweeps. Just sayin'.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Could the fact that none of our players were drafted in the first two days hurt us in recruiting? I can imagine an opposing coaching staff telling recruits that Fuente doesn't know how to prepare players to be drafted...

Sure. It's one of a thousand variables. In the end though, the recruits don't typically lack self confidence.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

No. Fuente was here for only one year with these guys. He probably explained to them that another year would help them in the long run, but supported their decisions once they were made. Don't worry about recruiting, either guys can get players into the program or they can't.

Anybody can say anything, but most of the people here thought they should stay on the team another year.

Anyway Ford can come back and play for Buzzetball?

Haha, technically, yes. Would need to be a walk-on though since there is no scholarship open (at the moment). If you want to be really technical, he could play basketball in 2018-19 as well. Your 5-year clock starts when you begin classes, so he has 2 years of NCAA eligibility left. Just does not have NCAA football eligibility because he entered the NFL draft.

Looks like the scout was right to tell them all to stay. Can't believe Bucky hasn't been drafted yet.

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Just got picked by Vikes.

Unless your first round projection, never leave early. Too much of a gamble.

"Welcome to the Terror Dome." -- Corey Moore

True in most cases, and particularly in the case of Evans and Hodges... However, I still believe that Ford will make his money regardless of where/if he goes in this draft. He is going to sign, work hard (because that is who he is) and he will show that he truly was undervalued. His measurable hurt him... but we all know the kid can straight ball.

Is it football season yet?

There are way too many variables in a prospect's decision to declare to make a blanket statement like that. i.e. Darren Evans leaving to support his family because that couldn't wait another year.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Staying another year would not have moved any of them from the 6th rd to the 1st, 2nd, probably not even 3rd maybe. They made the right choice for them and best of luck

I think it's likely they'd have all gone in earlier rounds had they stayed in school another year, but I suppose we don't really know that for sure.

If all three had stayed, it would have benefited all of them.

Bucky would have been a top TE prospect next year if he could have dominated and blocked

Evans would have been a higher QB prospect if he could put up similar or better passing numbers, make progressions and get the ball to the right guys at the right time

Ford could have benefited from winning one on one battles because he couldn't be double teamed with Bucky, Cam and now Patterson/Farley/Pimpleton and a more developed WR corps

Best place to learn this stuff is in college

Also we'd have a legitimate claim to a playoff run

Recruit Prosim

I agree. The NFL is not in the developmental business, especially for very late or un drafted players. I really don't know what Ford could have done to improve his stock by coming back, but barring injury it couldn't have gotten worse. Consistency and huge numbers would have been worth a round or so I'm guessing. Bucky has everything you could ask for in a prospect except experience. He's not a complete player. He has only been a tight end for a few years. He didn't even start his college career there. Who knows what another year could have done for him, maybe been worth a few million. Evans had a really good year, but one year of tape in a QB friendly offense is not gonna get u a lot of attention by the pros. He may not play another down. Evans does a lot right and has some things u want in a QB but he lacks experience and there's holes in his game. It's not unreasonable to think another year could have put him in the Dobbs territory next year. I just hate to see Hokies make these bad decisions that we have kind of been lucky not to have happen in the past.

You're talking about these guys risking everything (one bad injury ruins their career) for a round or two improvement. Rookie contracts are shit now anyway. One could argue that a late rounder that proves himself gets to that all important second contract sooner, earning more in the long run.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

Well I dont really blame Ford for leaving. I think he should have gone higher, I was just saying had he stayed I think he would have gone sooner next year. As for Bucky, it was iffy, its a gamble with the injury risk. And as far as careers being over, Evans could very well be. He will probably get signed but how many undrafted QBs do anything? I know there are Romo's and Warner's, but the percentage is extremely low that they ever see the field.

Ummm.. Pretty sure Evans could have took out an insurance policy for that scenario. Would make alot more than what he's making now

Loss of value insurance policies only payout in the case of an injury where your actual draft position is lower than your pre-injury projected draft position. Since Evans was projected as a late draft pick, he would not have been able to get an insurance policy worth very much.

I agree on all but Hodges. He is what he is. Another year wasn't going to help him much.

Can you honestly say he's shown anything more than very, very modest improvement as a route runner, receiver, YAC, and blocker since the OSU game in 2014?

Strongly disagree...you are glossing over the reality of the outcome.
Best of luck...yes. best decision? Wrong.

VHokie

Hindsight is 20/20, but I wonder why there isn't an avenue for players who may think they made the wrong choice in leaving early to return and play college ball again.

I suppose they don't want all the players throwing their hats in the ring, which would be the natural progression of that policy.

Also college players aren't supposed to have contact with NFL teams or agents

Recruit Prosim

No way. Could you imagine 60 players not being happy with their spot in the draft and saying "no thanks, I think I'll go back to school". What are those NFL teams supposed to do.

The players can submit their paperwork and get their estimated spot in the draft. They also have discussions with their coaches. Hodges, Ford, and Evans could have come back for another year and play a full 4 years of college football like you're supposed to.

I hated seeing Hodges and Ford (especially Ford) drop like they did, but it was a decision that they made.

The decision by Evans was dumb. There is no other way to put it. He was nowhere near ready.

What are those NFL teams supposed to do.

Yeah, because NFL teams need more protection from players /s

it would be nice I think to be able to see how they do at a pro-day or combine before they made their final decision. If they could do a pro-day or the combine and then get a scouting report on them and make a decision wether to comeback or not it would be good. Once they decide to go to the draft then it would be final IMO.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

Here's the bottom line. They are all young men making decisions that will affect them the rest of their lives. If there was any reason to believe that they would not be selected on day 1 or 2 of the draft they should highly consider staying another year. They made their beds so now they must sleep in them. They were all great players and I appreciate their time in Blacksburg. There is no need to dwell on the past. Time for them to work hard and ball in the pros. Good luck my friends.

I still say Ford and Bucky weren't wrong in their decisions. Not many people pegged them both to be 7th-rounders. I think they will produce in the NFL.

As for Evans, I think it's been well-documented that everyone but him thought it was a poor decision to leave early, and those concerns are now proven true.

People who wanted Ford and Bucky to come back were just being selfish in my mind. Ford was never going to improve on his stock and next years team probably wasn't going to win the ACC with or without him. As for Bucky, some people just aren't meant to be in school. And his talent/football skills are apparently not why he wasn't drafted until the 7th round.

As for Evans I sort of see where he was going with it. Top 2 targets leaving, not a lot behind them either (and he threw to those guys saw them in practice every day). He was going to be the bell cow ball carrier again and maybe he just didn't want to get hit 250 times for free again. He'll get a check from some team somewhere, NFL makes the big headlines but I think guys in the CFL/ some of those other leagues make a not bad living.

So the scouts that told them to stay in school were being selfish too?

It's a moot point now, but those guys are running uphill to have an NFL career at this point.

Evans more than likely never will. I don't think anyone's here feels "they know better"

But the people that actually do this for a living were correct.

How much contact do they really have though? I know they get an NFL grade of round 1, 2, higher. But do the players actually get to talk to scouts before declaring?

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

That's really just a cop out. Anyone who leaves school early and gets a "return to school" grade are being told that because they have things they can work on. You can say Ford was never going to improve his stock, but that implies that he's as good as he could ever be...which is probably an insult to Isaiah. Coming back for another season means that they would have access to the VT coaches, weight room and training facilities free of charge. That by itself is worth its weight in gold for someone who aspires to be a professional athlete.

It sucks for all of them to go below where they anticipated, but it's disingenuous to continue to claim that they made the right decisions. I would hope that in the future anyone who has to make that decision can see that staying wouldn't just be for "selfish" fans, as you put it, but would be for continuing their development.

There is no such thing as a return to school grade. They simply say if you are or aren't projected to go in the first two rounds. Ford would have gotten the same grade next year. With the extra work maybe he improves a round or two. With a torn Achilles he goes pro in something other than sports. That is a decision each player has to make and who the fuck are we to say its right or wrong.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

There is no such thing as a return to school grade.

"The new ratings are much simpler: potential first round, potential second round, or neither, which is effectively a recommendation to stay in school."

Ford would have gotten the same grade next year. With the extra work maybe he improves a round or two.

No one knows what would have happened if Ford would have stayed. Maybe he blows his knee out on day one. Maybe he puts on 15 lbs of muscle, improves his route running, reduces the number of times he catches with his body, rather than with his hands. Maybe he catches 159 balls to top Zay Jones's NCAA record. Maybe he quits football to join the basketball team. Maybe he becomes an astronaut. You don't know & I don't know.

That is a decision each player has to make and who the fuck are we to say its right or wrong.

Because this is a message board and people are free to express opinions?

"There is no such thing as a return to school grade. They simply say if you are or aren't projected to go in the first two rounds. Ford would have gotten the same grade next year. ..."

Only underclassmen get graded by the NFL, he would have been a graduated senior with a master's degree, hopefully going to a senior bowl, hopefully a leader on a highly ranked Hokies team, hopefully with another 1000yd season, more highlights, more name recognition, better skills, more mature, probably talked about in preseason, during season, and leading up to the draft, etc, etc. Probably would have been more highly regarded next year, assuming no injuries. Probably

Coming back for another season means that they would have access to the VT coaches, weight room and training facilities free of charge. That by itself is worth its weight in gold for someone who aspires to be a professional athlete./blockquote>

Or he can go pro and get coaching from the best coaches in the world and work in the best strength facilities money can buy while not have to worry about limits on hours of contact with coaches. And he gets paid for it instead of taking more hits and risking injury for free. I didn't mean to say Ford is as good as he's going to get, far from it. But his NFL draft stock was never going to get much higher because of his physical traits, which just is what it is. If coming back for another year isn't going to help then why not go and start working towards a second contract in the NFL?

If coming back for another year isn't going to help

But his NFL draft stock was never going to get much higher because of his physical trait

Again. That's your opinion and many people don't share that opinion.

Ford needs to improve at catching the football. He has concentration drops, lets the ball get into his body and at times won't high-point the football. He needs to be more consistent using his size and leaping ability to high-point it; too often his catch point gave the defender a chance to break up the play. Ford profiles as a deep threat but lacks the ideal speed (4.61-second 40) to get consistent separation. He relies on his feet at the line of scrimmage too much and will need to develop the ability to win hand fights at the point of attack. Improving his strength could allow him to improve at the line of scrimmage and in hand fighting down the field. Too often versus press coverage corners forced him close to the sideline. He needs to improve his blocking as well, as too often defenders beat him by outmuscling him.

Weaknesses:
Quicker than fast; lacks elite speed
Lacks strength
Needs to get stronger
Too much body catching

However, Ford needs to add muscle, as he was often bumped off his routes. Surprisingly, he also struggled to produce after the catch. He has the looks of an inconsistent weapon in an NFL offense.

All of those suggest that many of identified weaknesses could have been addressed at VT. i.e. resulting in a higher draft position.

If you are arguing that all NCAA football players should leave school the instant they might be able to catch on with a NFL team and improve on the NFL's dime instead of playing in college, then I don't know what to say. Someone else on the board stated it best in that the NFL isn't a developmental league, it's a production league.

If coming back for another year isn't going to help then why not go and start working towards a second contract in the NFL?

Here's a whole article debunking that line of thought:

"The average NFL player does not get to four years. That's what it takes to get a pension," Mayock said. "Plus or minus three-and-a-half years, that's the average length of an NFL career. It is not even four years."It frustrates me when these kids come out and talk about the second contract."

He'll get a check from some team somewhere, NFL makes the big headlines but I think guys in the CFL/ some of those other leagues make a not bad living.

I think every blue collar worker in the world will attest that anyone getting paid to play football is making a "not bad" kind of living. :)

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

Depends on the blue-collar work, and depends on the level of football. Arena football salaries on average are nothing to write home about.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

So obviously warning signs were there for Jerod not to declare this year but he had his own ambitions, which is fine we aren't judging him. But could Fuente use this next time he has good players considering the NFL early and the reports come back negative? Could this year be a bookmark for future players to wait until scouting reports are positive?

-Semper Primus

The narrative that these guys would have gone higher next year by staying another year is probably incorrect and definitely pure speculation. Everyone said this year's draft was heavy on defensive talent and light on offensive talent, and the second most defensive players ever taken in one draft happened this year. These were all offensive players in year in a draft where the offensive talent was scarce to find, and they were drafted very late or not at all. The offensive talent next year in the draft, especially QB, is forecast to be much better than it was this year. So even if these individual players had made incremental improvements to their talents, they would have been facing a more talented crop of peers at the WR and QB positions, let's face it Bucky is not a TE, given his blocking and size. Factoring in a risk of injury, age, offensive draft competition, and number of years in college already(3-4 for all these players), the timing was right for these players. Time will tell how they fare but criticism for taking their shot is unwarranted and selfish.

Speaking for myself, I'm not criticizing them or judging their decision negatively, just pointing out that there's a difference between a player leaving school early and receiving a 1st or 2nd round grade from the NFL, and leaving early not receiving that grade. This is what can happen when you are told you don't have the talent yet that scouts are looking for in the NFL. Staying for the senior season develops skills, leadership qualities, matures the player, and could give them an edge the following year in the draft. There's also injury risk. There's also a chance at a master's degree or finishing a bachelor's on the house. Opportunities gained and/or lost in both directions.

This^. VPI nails it.

I honestly thought Bucky would have become a better player with another year in school. I think Ford could have refined existing skills and gained a bit of good weight with another year. I think Evans needed another year to develop in virtually all aspects.

With the projected available offensive talent in next year's draft, it's tough to say whether any of them would have been drafted higher or not in 2018 than they were in 2017, but I think they would have been more likable prospects with another year in each case.

This is the NFL draft....criticism is fair and warranted. It's naive to say it isn't. It doesn't need to be personal or mean spirited....that would be wrong. I criticize the decision. I believe they would have fared better if they stayed, as did the NFL advisory board. They were warned, but still entered. They have to live with the decision, just like we all live with any job decisions we make in our lives. Stop sugar coating it and making excuses. I think they should have been drafted higher, but this is real life....make a decision and then deal with the consequences. I wish them the best, but I still reserve the right to state my opinion. They made a poor decision.

VHokie

Clearly....the timing wasn't right. I don't see how you can say that. The "narrative" that they somehow made the right decision is very flawed. It's not selfish...it's just how it is and it's reality. I love these guys...but they probably would have been better served to listen to the advisory board.

VHokie

It's over now. We all know who should have stayed the most and all that other BS. Kids leave early all the time without getting 1st and 2nd round grades it's just something we are not used to seeing here so much . "According to NFL.com, 28 of 95 early entry draft prospects (29.5 percent) went undrafted" . That's not including how many early draft prospects got picked up later .It happens they left for their own personal reasons , support them now .

I think Sam Rogers left too early and should have stayed at least one more year.

I know you're kidding, but he really did it right.

Got engaged after the UVa game.

What a class act.

My worry is for Sam. He is going to have a heck of a culture shock moving from Blacksburg to LA.

I think you mean LA is going to have a heck of culture shock when Sam Rogers moves into town.

.....
95% of what I say is sarcastic. The other 5% is usually taken out of context.

when Sam Rogers moves into town

when Sam Rogers ROLLS into town

#bowlingballfullofbutcherknives

FIFY

With any luck, other players can learn from this.

If you're not projected first or second round, it probably makes sense to use another year of eligibility. Better yet, get your degree!

Other than Jerod, I wouldn't say this is a lesson for anyone. The other two who left early got drafted, and they will get their paychecks.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I'm not saying for them -- too late.

I'm saying for future players deciding whether to go early. Maybe this will add a dose of realism to their analysis.

They'll be fine. But it may be that listening to the experts and waiting another year would have been better.

I meant for future players as well, unfortunately. Unless a future player thinks they are genuinely going to be a pick in the first 2-3 rounds, this year showed them that they can still come out early and get their shot.

I agree when it comes to top-tier talent, though. Anyone who thinks they are the cream of the crop may learn from this to stay another round.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

So according to this link from NFL.com 95 underclassmen declared for the draft and 28 went undrafted (that's roughly 29%).

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

Wonder how many had their degrees?

Always choose joy.

They can always go back to school. They just can't play football.

Twitter me

Wonder how many of them could afford the schooling without the scholarship that they no longer have access to.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

I'm guessing they're all well connected with the University that they played for. If they wanted, I'm sure they can find some scholarships to at least lessen the loan the amount.

I just want to add my 2 cents and you guys can take it however you want...

In the recruiting world, we often criticize coaches for extending a scholarship to a kid that is perceived to be not worth it. I'm not going to name specific kids because I don't think it's nice, but you know who I'm talking about. There's always 1-2 of those head scratcher offers with each class. Maybe rightfully so maybe not, we usually come to the coaches' defense and say: they are the people getting paid the big bucks to evaluate talent and coach. We sit on the couch/in the office and criticize. Trust their expertise.

NFL GMs, coaches, and scouts are the same way. They are getting paid the big bucks to evaluate college athletes. If they don't think a player on our team is worth a high/medium/low pick, they are probably right. If they get a steal, awesome! We don't really have the right to criticize them though. They are the experts. We are the keyboard experts.

I'm not even that good at the keyboard though... took me 30 minutes to type this

i c wut u did ther