Draft-Bound Ducks

Marshall packs the rock

Christmas break — time for fans to pump up for bowl games, and time for some college football players to think about moving up to the pros. The agreement between the NCAA and the NFL states that a player needs three years of participation in the college ranks before he can enter the NFL Draft. Redshirt years count, so a player can enter the draft after his sophomore season if he redshirted for a year.

Most fans anticipate Marcus Mariota opting to enter the draft this year. A fair assumption; several NFL bottom feeders are well into their “Suck for the Duck” campaigns. He’s reached the pinnacle of football achievement, the Heisman Trophy, and a national championship will just be icing on the cake. Joey Harrington and Andrew Luck stayed in college for an additional year to enjoy the collegiate experience and it didn’t hurt their draft position. But poor Matt Barkley tried the same thing, and due to Lane Kiffin’s ineptitude, Barkley’s draft prospects cratered. Mariota is a smart kid and though Duck lovers hate to admit it, it’s time for him to move up.

Armstead celebrates a championship

Kevin Cline

Armstead celebrates a championship.

Another Duck player making noises of entering the draft is Arik Armstead. Armstead has the frame and talent that make NFL coaches salivate, but in some estimations he’s underperformed. This year, he’s 11th on the team in tackles and fifth in tackles for loss. Part of that may be the Duck defensive scheme. D-linemen fill the gaps and the linebackers make the tackles, but he ranks fifth on the team in sacks and we still haven’t seen any Haloti Ngata moments of the nose tackle chasing down a quarterback like a leopard downing a gazelle. Unless Armstead has a signature game in the playoffs, he may be well advised to stay a year to improve his draft prospects by showcasing his prowess on the field.

Byron Marshall has asked the NFL to evaluate his draft prospects. This might be a good move. He leads the team in receiving yards, and has the skills and mentality of a running back combined with soft hands. Some thought his move to the slot was a demotion, but he’s proved his worth to the team and as the spread gains traction in pros, his value to professional general managers has increased proportionally.

The deadline for juniors and seniors to declare for the draft is in January. Once they do, there’s no going back. We’ll have to wait until then to see who declares and who will be back for next year’s championship run.

Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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 Volunteer Position Openings:

--Media Management/Supervisor:  We are looking for someone beyond college age who can help manage students and mentor in a number of different departments. Expertise is not required as organizational skills and interest in guiding others.   --Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.   --College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.   --Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.   All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to charles@fishduck.com  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Michael Bigham

Michael Bigham

Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, I attended the University of Oregon and during my collegiate summers, I worked in a lumber mill and also fought range fires on the Oregon High Desert for the Bureau of Land Management. After graduating from college at the University of Oregon, I swung from being budding hippy to cop work. I’m still wondering about how that came about. I was a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, I obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, my daughter and a spunky bichon frise named Pumpkin. I’ve had short stories publishing in two Main Street Press anthologies. Harkness is my first novel.

  • Vance Laviotto

    Hmmm. Sure about this//?????//

    When you have talked to Arik, Byron, and Marcus, what have they told you directly?

    I would love to see quotes from the players or their handlers directly, and I think you could do so in a fashion that would not give up your source(s)

    Good that FD.com has FINALLY hired a true team insider though, look forward to more of your in depth personal conversations with coaches and players.

  • Rusty

    In my dream world everybody comes back for back to back natty’s and hiesmans!