After Jordan Lasley returned from a 3-game suspension, he came back and was UCLA’s best wide receiver down the stretch. He had consecutive 200-plus yards games to end the regular season and opposing defenses had a hard time catching Lasley.
Well, Pac-12 defensive backs will be happy to know that they won’t have to catch Lasley next season.
That’s because, this evening, Jordan Lasley tweeted a video announcing that he is declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Almost exactly a year ago, I told y’all 2016 was the trailer, and 2017 would be a movie. Crazy how ya whole life can change in 1 year... pic.twitter.com/pDtVe95oBP— Jodie Jo (@LegendaryLasley) January 4, 2018
Now, I don’t begrudge any junior from declaring early. The fact is that the potential money a player can earn dwarfs any reason to stay in school.
And, I certainly don’t know what set of circumstances would lead anyone to make the decision to leave early for the NFL.
But, at the same time, I also think it’s important for someone to understand how much they would benefit from staying in school for another year.
In Lasley’s case, I think he definitely would.
I’m not talking about staying in school to become a higher draft pick next year. I’m talking about all the intangibles that another year of school would provide Lasley with, such as maturity.
Maturity definitely appeared to be an issue for Lasley throughout the course of this season and I’m not just talking about the suspension. Lasley’s difficulties this year started in training camp. Lasley seemed to have a tendency to shoot off his mouth a little in practice. I know I observed that during training camp and I know that Lasley was kicked out of practice at least once for something.
When you combine that with a 3-game suspension, it would seem as though Lasley would benefit from another year of growing up.
Instead, now, he will face the rough-and-tumble of the NFL, where coaches and executives don’t want people who rock the boat. After all, look at Eli Apple. Apple was the first round pick of the New York Football Giants in 2016. Well, his antics got old fast and, by the end of 2017, Apple found himself suspended for the remainder of the season and likely to have played his last game in a Giants uniform. One of his teammates went as far as to call Apple a “cancer” in the locker room.
Lasley certainly doesn’t want his career to go like that.
Considering his issues, Lasley’s smarter move would have been to do what Josh Rosen did. Play a year as controversy-free as possible and show off his incredible talents.
And, make no mistake, I think he is a heck of a player on the field. He was absolutely electric down the stretch.
But, I’m concerned for his longevity in a league where each team has one goal and the failure to reach that goal immediately puts everyone’s job in jeopardy.
Ultimately, though, Jordan needed to make the decision that he feels is in his best interest and he has done just that. I just hope that, when the 2018 NFL Draft rolls around, Lasley’s name is called as early as he expects it to be called and that he doesn’t fall down on the league draft boards for any reason.
Unfortunately, I’ve been watching too many Bruins come out of school early thinking they were going to be picked higher than they actually were and I don’t ever want to see that happen to any Bruin.
Best of luck, Jordan!