How the NFL Draft Shapes the Future of Oregon Football

Joshua Whitted Editorials 8 Comments

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In less than a month, for one weekend, college football fanatics and NFL enthusiasts alike will gather around their television screens to watch what has become one of the most anticipated events on the football calendar: the NFL Draft. It’s a time of celebration, excitement and optimism, as millions of people watch former collegiate superstars take their talents to the professional level.

But for Mario Cristobal, the NFL Draft isn’t an excuse to eat pizza and have a few drinks. It’s the biggest recruiting pitch in his arsenal.

Sure, confidence and charisma are important attributes. But without consistently developing NFL draftees, even the most talented recruiters in the game will fizzle out before long. As important as national titles, Heisman Trophies, academics and campus lifestyle are, the majority of blue-chip recruits want to go to a school that will get them drafted as highly as possible.

Kevin Cline

Recruits hope to be drafted as highly as Justin Herbert someday.

Think of how many superstar cornerbacks have committed to LSU or Florida, due to their track record of sending defensive backs to the NFL. Clemson consistently lands top wide receiver prospects because they have a reputation for developing future NFL wide receivers. Alabama and Ohio State are recruiting powerhouses, not just because they win so many games, but because they send more players to the pros than everyone else.

Think about it from a blue-chip prospect’s perspective. If he plays for Nick Saban, it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll end up on an NFL roster after three years. That’s a heck of a sales pitch.

Cristobal has all of the skills and attributes that you could ask for in a recruiter. He’s smart, he’s charismatic, he’s a tireless worker, and he’s an infectious leader. The results speak for themselves, as he has done the unthinkable and established Oregon as a recruiting force in the West.

Matt Zlaket

By putting players into the NFL, more recruits will want to play for Cristobal.

Now, as his earliest recruits become draft-eligible, it’s time to tick the last box on his recruiting checklist. Players like Penei Sewell and Jevon Holland in this year’s draft, and future NFL hopefuls like Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mykael Wright and others, will help validate everything that Cristobal is selling.

Producing NFL talent shows prospects that a coach and a program aren’t just “talking the talk“; they’re “walking the walk“. If you thought Oregon was recruiting well before, just wait until high school linemen see that playing for Cristobal means there’s a chance they end up as a top-10 pick. When’s the last time that USC could say that? I’ll wait. (In case you were wondering, it was nine years ago.)

So, as you grab your wings and have your house party this NFL Draft, just remember that while the last weekend in April is certainly a time to cheer on the many amazing Oregon superstars, it’s also a pivotal step in building a championship collegiate roster.

Joshua Whitted 
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

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Excellent article Joshua. The NFL Draft is “the biggest recruiting pitch in his (Cristobal’s) arsenal.”

Oregon’s Pro Day featured representatives from 31 NFL teams! Nine Oregon players participated and were fully supported in their workouts (no animosity for those that opted out). Of course they had special Oregon gear and they all looked great. Watching Coach Feld manning the racks and cheering on their efforts speaks loudly to the depth and “relentless” support of this program.

Social media loved the event and especially praised Cristobal for approving Penei’s brother Gabriel Sewell to participate. You can’t buy this type of exposure. Future Oregon moms take note.

They also released a short video of players taking questions post workout. I highly suggest giving them a watch. It’s infectious how positive and proud the players are of how Oregon Football operates and puts them in a position to succeed.

All of this added up to a brilliantly orchestrated marketing event for future recruits.


Another well researched article that is right on the mark. Thank you Joshua.

I have a good feeling for this group of Ducks as they head into the draft. Might be all time.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Guess who is the HIGHEST Ranked Pac-12 Team in Baseball?

Oregon? Say it isn’t so!

Yes it is, as the Ducks come in at No. 19 this week in the D1 Poll, just ahead of Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona!

Look, I have no idea if it will hold, but some of us have waited a LONG TIME for Oregon Baseball to 1) hit the darn ball, and 2) be relevant again!

Coach Waz has it going…

And congrats to the Volleyball team that ended up with a final ranking of No. 10 in the nation! We get a lot of winning at Oregon…


Big series this weekend against the Beavs in Eugene. If Zavala, Yovan and Smith continue to hit and with Hall coming on strong we are looking pretty good. My advice to Waz is to sit Scanlon and play Cromwick most of the time from here on out. Poor Scanlon has the yips I am afraid.

As usual the pitching has looked pretty good. I think we have at least 3 former Duck pitchers pitching regularly in the majors this season, perhaps even more. David Peterson may be an all star this year if he picks up where he left off last year with the Mets.

Love baseball season!


The dream elite kids have coming out of high school has many legs. Some are dazzled by the history and prestige of a local program. Fortunately we don’t have a program like that in the northwest to compete against.

Certainly the opportunity to develop and become an NFL talent is a top priority. I think the young guns coming into the program will be the big indicator of that happening. Seeing Thibs, Noah and Flowe develop beyond expectations will do great things for our program. Can we put our 5* recruits in the 1st round?

We have 3 of the top 5 recruits in the history of the program competing right now. The other two JS, and Ngata went on to illustrious careers in the NFL. Can these three do it too?

The bigger question is can the program develop Ty, Dontae, Troy Franklin, Kingsley, and Mykael. These are recruits at a level we have sometimes struggled to develop into future NFL stars. One or more of these guys needs to break through into being a 1st round draft pick, not a certain thing at all.

Another leg on the stool kids want to see is competing at an elite level. We have to dominate the north and win the Pac-12, consistently. So far we are moving in that direction. We also need to get into the hunt for the playoffs, still working on that one.

I think another leg, that is developing, is the competitive atmosphere throughout the program. We need to have elite talent at every position. A Herbert can win the qb battle, and then have too little talent to throw to. Elite LB talent can’t have a defensive line which can’t slow down the run and get after the qb. We also need a RB who excites the fanbase and puts fear in opponents.

The NFL Draft is every football playing kids dream. We are producing there, but there are other elements we need to take care of too. Great article and ponder points!


Good insight Haywarduck! Thanks!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

A great reminder that will make the draft all the more interesting for us! I had not thought of it, but you are right; if we do not send players to the NFL on a regular basis–that is held against us in the recruiting process.