By Will Vandervort
Martavis Bryant says a second- or third-round grade from the NFL’s Draft Advisory Board will make him think about forgoing his senior year to enter April’s NFL Draft.
The Clemson wide receiver confirmed to the media after Saturday’s first Orange Bowl practice that he did submit paperwork to the NFL’s Advisory Board as a lot of juniors do during this time of the year.
“I have been thinking about my future but I’m not going to decide until after the bowl game, but I have been thinking about it,” he said.
Bryant says he doesn’t have the slightest clue on what the board will say. He says for now he will just wait and see, while concentrating on No. 7 Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
“It’s pretty exciting, but at the same time I have to stay focused,” Bryant said. “The season isn’t over yet. We still have one more game left and we are trying to win that.”
Bryant has hauled in 39 receptions for 800 yards, while scoring five touchdowns. His yards and touchdowns rank second on the team behind fellow junior Sammy Watkins, who also confirmed he submitted his paperwork.
With that said, though, Watkins is a sure thing for the first round in the NFL Draft and some say he could go in the top five picks. Defensive end Vic Beasley also submitted his paperwork to the NFL’s Draft Advisory Board, and many expect him to go in the first round as well.
“I’ll take first round,” Beasley said. “It isn’t all about the money, but shoot, I’ll take first round. That is the best of the best.”
“I hope it is a first-round grade.”
It’s understandable why Beasley and Watkins are seriously thinking about the draft considering their current status among NFL scouts. But Bryant, or any other third-year player on the team who might want to go, it is a little questionable at this point.
“I would not go on a discount,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I think we have a few guys that if they came out now, they are not going to get what I think they are worth.”
Bryant is one of those guys. Last month, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said his 6-foot-5, 200-pound wideout was just starting to understand how good he can be at this level and could really use another year to develop that.
It appears that is what Swinney plans to tell Bryant, too.
“We go through the same process that we go through with all of those guys,” he said. “Here is some accurate information, not what some guy on the TV says. Here is really what the information is, submit your paperwork, see what it says and then make a decision.
“It’s like Nuk (Hopkins) last year. He got his paperwork, second round, he felt good about it and he left. (C.J.) Spiller got his and he was a late first-round guy and he did not like that. He wanted to be a top 10 guy.
“Everybody has their own reasons for making decisions and all that stuff, but our roles are to make sure they have good, accurate information, counsel them, give them our opinion and then support them with whatever they decided and that is what we do.”
When it comes players like Bryant or anyone else who is not projected to be drafted in the first round, Swinney stands firm and advices them to come back to school.
“If you are not a first rounder, it is not a good long-term decision, it’s just not, especially where it is financially now,” he said. “All of these rookie contracts are four or five years so the only thing you are guaranteed is what you get on the front end.
“To get to a fourth or fifth year and get a second contract, the odds are really against you in that regard. But, everybody has to make those decisions, but that is my personal opinion and that’s what I would tell any of my sons. I think you want to maximize your one opportunity.
“If you come back and you are still a third, fourth, fifth rounder or free agent, who cares? You still maximized your opportunity. It is still an honor and a blessing to still go and have a chance to play at the highest level.”