I don’t know what it is. Maybe they are just ignorant, and they don’t understand the game? Or maybe they are writing it for clicks or they are trying to get people to listen to the radio or watch their show on television for ratings?
I don’t know why.
Regardless, they need to present the facts on why a kid straight out of high school, or a true freshman or sophomore, should not be allowed to play in the NFL. The reason … it is a man’s game.
Since the end of Clemson’s national championship clinching win over Alabama, college football and pro football writers and broadcasters have been saying quarterback Trevor Lawrence would be the first pick in this year’s NFL Draft if he was given the opportunity to come out and go pro after his freshman year.
However, the NFL does not allow a player to be eligible for the draft until he is at least three years removed from high school.
Pundits say that it is a stupid rule and that the NFL is catering to its friends at the NCAA, so schools such as Clemson can make a little money off Lawrence’s likeness while the iron is hot. It works them up even more because Lawrence is not allowed to receive any of the money because he is considered an amateur athlete.
However, that is a different topic for another column. In my opinion, that has nothing to do with why the NFL will not allow a true freshman or a kid right out of high school to play in its league.
The reason the NFL has the rule in place is because these young men are mentally, and more importantly, physically not ready for the NFL right out of high school.
I know people are saying, “the NBA has done it for years and it has worked out okay.” My first response is “has it really.” The success stories of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are few and far between. Think about all the players in the NBA in the last 20 years or so that took advantage of coming straight out of high school when it was allowed or were “one-and-done” players that had success.
There are not many cases of success. There are far more that have failed, and in doing so threw away an opportunity to get a college education and to do more than just play basketball.
Yes, baseball drafts players straight out of high school. But how many players go straight from high school to the majors? Not many. That is why they have a minor league system and why they have a rule that a college player is not eligible for the MLB Draft until after his junior year or 21st birthday if he decided to play college baseball.
But even with that, there are some cases where it has worked in basketball and those are the guys people like NBC’s Mike Florio will point to when talking about cases like Trevor Lawrence. However, what they don’t seem to understand or don’t want to bring up, because of television and radio ratings or clicks on Twitter, is that the NBA is not the same kind of game as the NFL.
Basketball is a totally different sport. The average person can play basketball for a long time in life. But the average person can’t play tackle football for very long.
Usually, most of us stop playing after high school. How many pickup tackle football games have you played in your life? How many pickup basketball games have you played?
Tackle Football is a tough and physical game. As we move on through life, just like in any sport, only the best of the best continued to play. But football is a gladiator sport. Your physical toughness is every bit or even more important than your mental toughness.
Playing in the NFL is a man’s game. These guys are the best gladiators of them all. They are big. They are strong and above all else, they’re physical.
The NFL is not a game for boys. Like I said, it is a man’s game. A college freshman, 99 percent of the time, is not ready for the NFL physically. And for those one percent that are, they are not ready for the game mentally.
That is what college is for. Just like it is for the academia’s, college is there to prepare the students for their chosen field.
How many lawyers or doctors do you know that skipped college or left after one year to start their professions?
Look, Trevor Lawrence is perhaps the best quarterback I have ever covered, and I got to cover Deshaun Watson. But, as good as he is, he still has room to develop.
There is no doubt in my mind, from a mental standpoint, Trevor Lawrence can succeed in the NFL right now. However, physically, I don’t think he can. That is were he needs to develop the most. He will probably tell you he needs to get bigger and stronger.
My point is this. Though Lawrence has some abilities right now that can transfer over to the NFL, he also has other areas where he needs to develop.
That is what college is for. It allows a guy like Lawrence to get the reps and develop both mentally and physically so when he is ready for the NFL, he can make that jump more seamlessly.
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