We’ve all heard the story from recruits: “Come to (Insert School Here), our system puts players into the NFL. Oregon may make you a good college player, but Oregon can’t put lineman into the NFL.
With defensive end Dion Jordan (3rd overall pick by Miami) and offensive lineman Kyle Long (20th overall pick by Chicago) coming off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night, the age old myth beaten into recruits’ heads can finally be put to rest.
Sure, the Ducks don’t have a draft list a mile long, and this is only the second time the Ducks have had two players taken in the first round of the draft. But lets be honest – the Ducks have never been this good.
Four full seasons of recruiting long, versatile athletes has paid off and is beginning to show in NFL Drafts. The Ducks had five players drafted this year; two first-rounders, a second rounder (Kiko Alonso 46th overall to Buffalo, and two sixth rounders (Kenjon Barner 182nd overall to Carolina and John Boyett 192nd overall to Indianapolis) That is the second most the Ducks have ever had behind the 2009 draft that saw six Ducks get selected.
Having nine players drafted over the past two seasons should undoubtedly help with Oregon’s recruiting.
I can’t help but think back to the USC game last season in LA and reading a post-game interview with Nelson Agholor. He said that he was disappointed in the loss but he went to USC to be treated like a professional and to get prepared for the next level.
For whatever reason, Oregon’s lack of success in the draft – which is an iffy argument at best if you look at the resumés of Haloti Ngata, Jairus Byrd and Patrick Chung – has translated into an “Oregon can’t produce talent” bash fest that ended when the 2013 NFL draft ended.
Out of the five players selected, only two were offensive players and only one was a skill position. So, Oregon’s defense – arguably the most underrated defensive unit in the country – had three players drafted, more than the offense. Now the Ducks have the most desirable offense in the country with a defense that PRODUCES top-5 picks.
Produce is the key word there, because as much of a freak as Dion is, he was a reciever/tight end coming out of high school. He wasn’t a 5-star defensive end that came to college ready to play, he was molded into the praying mantis and earned his money with hard work and a position switch.
And to all those who may be surprised with Ducks going so high in the draft, I have one thing to say “There’s more where that come from.”
DeAnthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla and Marcus Mariota are draft eligible next season, and should any of them play the way the did last year they too will be first round picks. Throw in the early first round mock drafts including Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell and a host of eligible players in Josh Huff, Jake Fisher, Avery Patterson, Ricky Havili-Heimuli, and Wade Keliki’ipi, and there is a great chance Oregon will have the most players that have ever been drafted.
To those sick and tired of hearing negative recruiting about Ducks not getting drafted, it’s over. To those who know this is only a glimpse of things to come, we’re ready. To those ready for recruiting to take flight, the time has come.