I'm usually not one for speculating (or worrying) about any one player and whether they may leave early for the NFL draft because it's a waste of energy. But I found myself wondering today, "Is this going to be Brian Price's last game in a UCLA uniform?" There is a case to be made for him returning and a case to be made for him to jump to the NFL, which I lay out after the (the linking function isn't working or else I would cite some of my sources):
The case for BP returning:
1. He has stated on a couple of occasions that he wants to stay 4 years and get his degree, regardless of how this season goes (even though he said he wanted to go "3 and out" before he came to UCLA). He has specifically cited his mother's desire for him to finish his education.
2. This year's DT class is ridiculously deep...BP might only be the 3rd best DT behind Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. While he would probably still be a 1st rounder, he might have to wait until the later part of the 1st round instead of the earlier part (some are projecting 25th overall), which could cost him some serious guaranteed money.
3. He is slightly undersized and could use an extra off-season to put on 10-15 pounds. This is a somewhat flimsy argument because there are plenty of successful DT's in the NFL that weigh in at 300lb.
4. If BP stays one more year he will have a chance to cement his legacy as one of the best defensive players to ever play for UCLA. Can anyone name someone better if he stays?
The case for BP entering the NFL draft:
1. There will be a new collective bargaining agreement in 2011 that will limit rookie contracts, which could cost BP some money. It's hard to say exactly how much, but it could be a pretty big dropoff from recent years. Owners are fed up with dishing out multi-millian dollar deals for players who haven't stepped on the field yet, and veterans are getting the shaft.
2. The injury risk...we have seen BP hobble off on more than one occasion and I always hold my breath. I do that as much for UCLA as I do for Brian. I would hate to see him suffer a serious injury that would affect his draft status and the ability for him to provide for his family.
3. He has proven that he can be dominant even when offense gameplans for him. He plays the run and pass equally well, and his technique is very sound. Simply put, he has nothing left to prove at this level.
4. UCLA's DT depth will be even worse next year than it is this year, meaning that he will probably get triple-teamed rather than double-teamed. His stats would probably suffer, although most scouts aren't fooled by stats in college.
There is another reason I felt compelled to post on this topic, and that is simply to appreciate how great of a Bruin BP has been since day 1. He doesn't complain, he works hard, and he represents UCLA well on and off the field. Regardless of what BP decides, I will support his decision. I hope he has his best day ever againt SUC and introduces himself to Barkley repeatedly in the backfield. GO BRUINS!