The consensus No. 1 wide receiver in this year’s class may not be in this year’s class after all.
A.J. Green – who many draftniks (myself included) have compared to Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald – seemed like an obvious early entry. But the threat of a lockout could force him to stay in school.
Earlier this week Green stated:
If they’re talking about a lockout, there’s no point in me leaving because they aren’t going to play for a whole season or a half of season, so that’s going to play a big factor.”
Green raises an interesting question, and it’s sure to impact the decisions of multiple underclassmen.
My guess is that the looming lockout won’t end up forcing players like Andrew Luck and Green to stay in school. They are guaranteed to be 1st-round picks and have nothing to gain by returning to school. However, it could factor in the decisions of players who receive 2nd and 3rd round grades.
If I’m a 1st-round pick, my thinking is this: I’m going to get paid eventually. Even if it doesn’t come until the 2012 season. Why risk an injury by returning to school?
But if I’m a 2nd or 3rd-round prospect my thinking is this: Why should I sit on the sidelines for a full year when I’ve only got a relatively small contract coming my way after the lockout ends? I’m better off staying in school, staying sharp in the field, and trying to improve my stock for 2012.
It definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out.