More Talent Means More Ducks Drafted

Darren Perkins Editorials 33 Comments

During daily web surfing of my must-see sports sites, I stumbled across a post at oregonlive.com (full youtube video) that hosted a video documenting the tension and excitement of the Detroit Lions’ front office in the minutes leading up to their selection of Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It was a wonderful and insightful scene, and as Duck fans, it always gives us a sense of great satisfaction when we hear one of our own getting their name called.

And Duck fans better get used to it.

Head coach Mario Cristobal has had the Ducks recruiting at an all-time high during his tenure as coach. The better the talent, the better the chances of having players drafted, and drafted highly. On top of that, with Kayvon Thibodeaux as the early favorite to be the first overall pick in the 2022 draft, the Ducks may well have their very first No. 1 overall selection.

Conference championships, Rose Bowl Championships, National Championship Games, College Football Playoff, a Heisman Trophy winner, etc., etc. The list of Oregon’s accomplishments in the world of college football is growing. And now, a good shot at the first overall draft pick. Recent history has been very kind to Oregon Ducks football.

Now, if we can just get that dang National Championship thing figured out. What do you think our chances are, Duck fans? Would a championship be necessary for Thibodeaux to be considered for the No. 1 overall selection?

Darren Perkins
Spokane, Washington
Top photo credit: Tod Fierner

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MaiTaiDuck

I really due believe Oregon is talented enough to get to the playoff’s. I don’t think Oregon has to win it all for Thib’s to be that NO.1 pick. I do believe this could be a special season. This is the most talent Oregon’s ever had and quite a bit. Love the competition they promote here. If your the best player for the position doesn’t matter if your a freshman Best player wins. Not given. Thank you Darren.

Tandaian

Getting players drafted gets future kids to look at Oregon. Look at the top 15 schools and they dominate the draft. Look at the Alabama, Clemson and tOSU and they have the most guys drafted on average per year.

J Duck

His talent will shine if he produces, whether we make the playoffs or not. If he shines either way he’ll still be a top pick consideration. The playoff exposure doesn’t hurt but I don’t think it’s neccesary

Selfish-Jerk Alert:

At first I’m inclined to say, “I’m sorry” for my opinion on this, but as I ponder it further….no, I am not sorry.

I do not care about their NFL careers, only what they do as a Duck. If they do well later, then that is nice, but I am an Oregon fan, and not a NFL fan at all.

I do not want a player blowing up in the NFL, (see Justin Herbert) as I want them to blow up at OREGON. On the other hand, the players who have a stellar career at Oregon, but do not reach their goals in the NFL such as LaMichael James–I am sorry for that, but darned grateful for their time as a Duck.

There are tons of players who leave early and are truly marginal NFL players, (see Brady Breeze) and others who are not, but make other mistakes that prevent them from a full career at Oregon. (Like Penei Sewell opts out to avoid COVID, and then does not get vaccinated and gets COVID anyway??)

Come to Oregon, play your best and stay a while. THAT is my selfish-jerk fan reaction….

LMJ to score_Video.jpg
Jon Sousa

Charles. I am not an NFL fan either. BUT…. Oregon’s chances to take home the brass ring of a National Championship is absolutely tied to Oregon athletes not only getting drafted higher but also doing very well with long careers in the NFL. Top recruits will not continue to come to Oregon unless their alums are doing well both in the draft and in the NFL.

Recruits’ goal is not to help Oregon win a championship. Their goal is to be rich and famous in the NFL. The only way to get them to commit to Oregon is to have their goals and Oregon’s goals intersect.

Annie

I think their goals are entwined, that the recruits do want to help Oregon win a championship and to make to the NFL.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

It isn’t that I don’t see the value of players being drafted high and doing well, it it just that I don’t care. Holland, Sewell and Breeze opting out for their goals made a big difference in our season.

If your star quality was revealed at Oregon….play it out please.

Ducked

It made no sense for Holland and Sewell to stick around for another season. Their draft status was assured, so why risk an injury that could conceivably cost them millions?

Anyone recommending that would not necessarily be acting in the players’ best interest….unless of course there was a possibility that they could substantially move up in the draft, which was not the case.

When Herbert decided to come back for his senior season I admit to being surprised. He was a cinch high first round choice and I thought the decision was risky. At the same time, however, I was ecstatic because he was the key to the Ducks’ success and had a great final year, capped by a Rose Bowl victory.

Breeze, on the other hand, had seen limited
time as a safety, during his Duck career. But he excelled on special teams. He had been recruited by Helfrich’s staff, and when new coaches took over — Taggart, then Cristobal — he basically became odd man out, lost in the shuffle behind the recruits brought in by the new assistants.

The kid has a nose for the ball and is not afraid to hit people, much like his uncle Chad Cota, a star safety for the Ducks in the mid-90’s.

I think when Breeze had standout performances in the 2019 Pac-12 championship game, followed by a defensive MVP performance in the Rose Bowl, he finally appeared on the radar of several pro teams. When COVID arrived he decided to opt out of his final season and instead prepare for the draft, where he was selected in the sixth round by the Titans. I laud his perseverance and sincerely hope he has a successful NFL career.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yep, I understand. They are selfish focusing upon their future, and I’m selfish for simply being concerned about Our Beloved Ducks.

But then I did say up front that I am a selfish jerk about this…

DanLduck

I’m no longer a fan of any of the pro sports currently. They have become to self absorbed and non supportive of the fan base.
That said, I do love to see former Duck athletes have success at the next level (come on Marcus, win back that starting spot!).

But Charles, I’m with you, I want to see major success at Oregon! Bill Musgrave led us to our first bowl games in decades, and was a great backup qb for the niners.
Joey didn’t have great success with Detroit, but he will always be someone I’d buy a beer!
Pro success is great, but don’t you just love LaMike James!

My point is total agreement with Charles, I want my Ducks to blow it up in Oregon.

A final thought, as good as our recruiting has been, having 1st rounders has become ho-hum for those 4 or 5 elite schools. We still gotta ways to go.

SeattleDuck

I certainly understand compartmentalizing between careers at Oregon and the NFL, that’s understandable. That being said, they do go hand-in-hand in building a successful football program so we certainly should care that Oregon players get to the NFL (and do well). Top flight recruits, for the most part, have NFL aspirations as part of their criteria in choosing which school they go to. If they see a school program routinely developing players well and getting them into the pro leagues, that instantly puts them in the upper tier of their lists. I doubt JT Tuimoloau or Cyrus Moss would be considering Oregon as strongly if Kayvaun wasn’t showing that his development had progressed to the point where he’s a high NFL draft pick.

Of course that also means they may become a 3 and out player but you take the good with the bad so that we can keep getting top 10 recruiting classes each year. If you gather enough high-end talent in the aggregate, then you eventually put yourself into position to win it all (see: Alabama and tOSU). It’s a vicious cycle but in my view a necessary one.

Drake

Kicking the door down and finally winning a National Championship is at least becoming achievable as recruiting has been on an uptick. For the Ducks to get into the “big game” it will take a group of players that can dominate the average teams, and hang with the big boys, with a little dash of luck mixed in.

Not often that you get a guy that is a top draft pick like a Justin Herbert that decides to skip the NFL draft, risk an injury, and come back for their senior year. It may take a few more guys of that caliber for the Ducks to earn the ticket back into the “big game”.

KT would be a high draft pick no matter what our overall record is this year. We probably have a few more high draft picks on our current roster. It would be nice for one of them to be a QB.

rden

If you’re going strictly by talent, then the last 4 years’ “Blue Chip Ratio” says Oregon should not finish in the Top 10 this season: https://247sports.com/LongFormArticle/Blue-chip-ratio-college-football-2021-16-teams-who-can-win-national-title-166530729/#166530729_1

UtahDuck

No a championship is not necessary for a player to be drafted #1. Of the last 10 number one picks only three played won a championship and two more made it to the playoffs. so 50% of picks don’t even make it to the playoffs.

The biggest question will always be is whoever ends up with the number one pick, will they need a QB or no? if not will they trade back for more picks to a team that needs a QB. The likelihood of a QB being picked first is a lot higher than a DE(although DE/Edge is number 2).

Jon Joseph

Or perhaps, fortunately?

Who wants to go 2-15?

SeattleDuck

Well, there’s the inverse relationship between team record and rookie payscale :)

Haywarduck

Recruiting elite talent is an art and a numbers game. You have to make sure you don’t recruit the enabled recruit or the team chemistry can suffer. You also have to recruit more and more as players leave early.

I have always identified with the Oregon Football Program of old. Recruits came in, and they competed to see who had untapped potential and who could work the hardest, smartest. You then were able to see guys rise up and become the Jeff Maehl’s and the Vince Goldsmith’s. Guys who were recruited at other positions, or were just too small for the elite programs became Oregon legends.

Now we have guys who are expected to start early and be drafted before they even arrive. The pressure on Ty and Justin Flowe has to be intense. These guys have little room to exceed expectations. These two and others are expected to be ready to be drafted after their junior years. I still remember waiting for Cameron Colvin to live up to his recruiting numbers.

This leads into needing to recruit even more athletes. We only got two years out of Penei. We are fortunate we haven’t brought in any crab leg stealing elite talent. I hope that continues. This is another item I put at the top of my list of pluses for Cristobal, he recruits character and demands integrity.

Haywarduck

Cam, and can you imagine if we ended up with Johnny football instead of Marcus?

Duck Phan Phil

Wow Vince Goldsmith..now there’s a grey beard giveaway if ever there was one. In fact this is one I had to look up, a 5’11” DT who played for the Ducks in the late ‘70’s and went on to star in the CFL.

Thanks for the knowledge drop Hayward!

Jon Joseph

Thank you, Darren.

And it feeds on itself. More guys drafted = better recruiting. Playoff appearances = better recruiting. This is why Bama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma have captured the majority of the playoff spots and why these teams do not rebuild, they reload. This dominance is also the main driver in potentially expanding the field to 12 teams.

{It will be very interesting to see what affect NIL will have on recruiting? My guess, the big boys will still be the big boys.)

I do not mean to harp on this but Oregon being one of 16 teams to have a Blue Chip Ratio roster in 2021 is a big deal. The Ducks check in 11 (tied with ‘old friend’ Auburn) with 56% of this season’s roster being 4* and 5* recruits. The only other Pac-12 team on the list is USC at 53%. UW drops off in 2021 at 49%.

(Sorry, if I wasn’t such a tech dummy I could link the recent release of ESPN’s, Bud Elliott’s, latest release of this Ratio that he developed. BTW, Elliott recognizes that roster reviews in the future to be relevant, will have to include grad transfers, JUCO signees + ‘1 time freebie’ transfers.’ For example, the Ratio does not give value to Utah for signing QB Charlie Brewer from Baylor. Brewer’s signing may well turn out to have the biggest impact on the Pac-12 this season?)

No team has won a BSC/Playoff title without a Blue Chip roster. In 2016, Clemson came the closest at 52% (with DeShaun Watson playing QB.)

Yes, more Ducks will be drafted. But there is a way to go catch the draft success of Bama and Ohio State and the draft success of SC under Pete Carroll.

What Mario has done to date on the recruiting front is amazing. Now, let’s see this translated to the field.

Jon Joseph

AMEN! However, besides ‘his knee was down!’ I do not believe Chip called a smart game against Cam + Auburn.

Nick A’s D did everything and more needed to win this game.

Logger29

Interesting question. I am myopic with regard to college sports and often have to remind myself many (most?) football and basketball players are looking to play at the next level.

To me, and again I’m biased, the goal of a national collegiate title is the main thing. I forget for the elite players the ultimate goal is the big pay day a high draft selection will bring.

So, yes Darren, I suppose for a player like Thibodeaux to be a number one pick a national championship or at the least a strong playoff performance would be needed.

Another point to ponder, will a defensive player ever be a number one pick? Has that ever happened? I honestly don’t follow the draft that closely.

Oregon football seems to be producing more potential pro selections which I suppose is a good thing. The former educator in me has mixed feelings about this topic. The funnel through which athletes pass narrows dramatically from pee wee to high school, to college, and finally the professional game.

Even the loaded teams, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, place at most maybe half a dozen players in the first or second rounds of the draft. What happens to those 5 and 4 star recruits who are not drafted, for a myriad of reasons from injury to burn out or just under performance?

I don’t want to come off as a scold, but I hope our support for our beloved Ducks includes not just concern for the potential all-pros the program produces but also praise for the players earning degrees and concern for those who don’t.

Mudslide

FYI, by my rough count, in the last 52 years, 15 defensive players (mostly d-ends) and 37 offensive players (mostly qb’s) have been selected #1. Interestingly, the only position group missing from these selections is d-back. GO get ’em, KT.

Logger29

Thanks Mud, so KT has a shot. I am not a pro football follower. I have attended a few Sea Hawk games, atmosphere seems like a mashup of NASCAR and pro wrestling.

I follow former Duck players teams and find myself becoming a tepid LA Charger fan because o Herbert.

Jon Joseph

Yet, all the 4 and 3 star recruits are certain they will go pro.

Santa Rosa Duck

True but there is something good to be said about having confidence.