Every year, draft-eligible juniors make a decision whether or not to return to college for their senior season or enter the NFL Draft. Some return because of the love for the university and college football, some do it to win a championship, but most return to improve their draft stock.
But there are certain situations where players should have ‘struck while the iron was hot’. A prime example is former Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson. Wilson had a forgettable senior season in several aspects. Bobby Petrino was canned, and Wilson was hammered play after play by defenders. Ultimately, his stock decreased based on his senior season.
Just in the SEC, there are mixed opinions regarding draft-eligible juniors like Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Alabama’s CJ Mosley. Both have been discussed at length since their decision to return, and some would argue both made the wrong decision.
Let’s take a look some former SEC players who helped themselves by returning for their senior season and others who should have declared as juniors.
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: Richardson was such a raw athlete in 2011, and he really honed his skills and developed into a first-round lock in 2012. Richardson had his way with several top offensive linemen in the SEC, and he stood out in the best defensive conference in the country.
Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky: Warford continued to improve throughout his senior season, and he had a huge senior bowl that absolutely helped his draft stock. Warford will be a perennial NFL guard for the foreseeable future.
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: Warmack is the best example on the list of a player with major upside who needed to hone his stills more. Nick Saban convinced Warmack he could improve his second-round stock. He’s now a first-round lock.
Shawn Williams, S, Georgia: Williams didn’t have the caliber of season most had hoped, and had he entered the draft as a junior, he would have had fewer safety numbers to contend with. Now Williams is hoping to be taken in the third round.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: Wilson is the ultra-example of a draft-eligible quarterback who should have left while the gettin’ was good. But he had no way of knowing about Bobby Petrino, and he’s now projected as a top-three QB but in a weak draft class.
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