Bielema wants undrafted players to have the ability to return to school
Should undrafted players be allowed to return to school? Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema thinks so and he plans on reaching out to his fellow coaches to see what they think about it.
The Razorbacks lost junior offensive lineman Denver Kirkland this offseason as an early entrant to the NFL but the big lineman went undrafted in the latest NFL draft. Bielema called into Monday’s Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly to discuss his thoughts on players leaving school early who ultimately don’t get drafted and what could be done to help both the players and college programs:
“I haven’t touched base with Gus (Malzahn) yet, but he had two that didn’t get drafted. Dan (Mullen) did as well. Ohio State had a couple,” Bielema said. “Those coaches, I’m reaching out to them and trying to put together some collective thoughts on how to approach it. Now, some kids maybe had to move on for academic reasons or personal or their own story. But if you have a guy like Denver who’s on progression to graduate, is doing the right things and needs another year.”
Bielema also thinks a player who goes later in the draft then anticipated, such as junior running back Alex Collins, should also have the option to return to school:
“Alex (Collins) could be in the same category. I’m glad he got taken, but I know he was planning on the third or second round (instead of the fifth). That’s millions. Remember Darius Philon? He goes in the middle of the sixth round (last year). If he came back and played for us last year, he probably would have been a second-rounder and possibly a first-rounder, the way those D-tackles were going off the board. He’s probably lost, between last year’s draft and this year’s draft, somewhere between $10-14 million that he will never, ever see again. It’s insane.”
If this rule were to change, college football rosters could potentially drastically change in the spring while also allowing players an opportunity to not only graduate from school but improve their draft stock the following season. Imagine an undrafted players being fueled by being passed over in the draft and being motivated to tear it up in college football for another season.
Bielema may be on to something here…