Three notes before we begin:
Note 1: If you reside in the state of Washington, do not read this post.
Note 2: I am in no way a morbid person. In fact, I think of myself as the complete opposite.
Note 3: I have never seen the movie "The Hurt Locker."
While watching the Oscars tonight, I was once again reminded of the terrible decision made by University of Washington QB Jake Locker to return to school for his senior season when a movie called "The Hurt Locker" swept the event.
Can Locker stay healthy behind an offensive line
that surrendered 28 sacks last year?
Why did Locker decide more school would be best for him?
The company line was something like "another year under head coach Steve Sarkisian will prepare Locker for the rigors of NFL life." This might be true, but Locker has put his future and a boatload of guaranteed cash at stake with the decision.
Using history as a guide, we come to the story of Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford.
Last year's consensus top prospect, Bradford found himself in the exact same predicament in which Locker currently sits. Had he declared for the draft, Bradford almost certainly would have been the #1 overall selection. However, Bradford returned to school, got injured in the first quarter of his team's first game against the Cougars of Brigham Young, and missed the rest of the season.
The injury, thankfully, did not ruin his long-term health, and Bradford will probably be chosen in the top 10 this April. All said, Bradford may have cost himself $10m or more in guaranteed money.
Matthew Stafford's contract - #1 overall pick in 2009, $41.7m guaranteed - against Mark Sanchez's contract - #5 overall in 2009, $28m guaranteed.
[Full disclosure: There exists a possibility that Bradford could be drafted #1 overall this year, but just go with me.]
Now, Locker, a sensational athlete (drafted twice in the MLB Rule 4 Draft) who possesses a rifle arm and runs like a "Tebow," takes that same risk.
The St. Louis Rams, a team in desperate need of a franchise signal caller and owners of the first pick in April's NFL Draft, could have certainly used someone with his skill set. He would have made the perfect #1 pick.
Now was the time for him to declare for the draft.
My sincere hope is that the next time we hear the term "The Hurt Locker," it won't be on the cover of the Seattle Times on September 5th, the day after UW's first game.
Oh and who does UW play in their season opener?
None other than BYU.
Please do not let this be an omen.
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