Early Departures for NFL Could Change Outlook for 2014
Nebraska fans are on pins and needles about whether or not Ameer Abdullah may opt to enter the upcoming NFL draft. Players have until January 15th to decide. Already, three wide receivers of note to NU fans have declared for the draft which could make future contests a little easier for the Huskers.
Davante Adams, Fresno State
Despite two years of eligibility remaining, Fresno State's Davante Adams leaves after a sophomore season in which he amassed 1718 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. Factoring into his decision has to be the graduation of quarterback Derek Carr, who is also considered an NFL-level talent. Backup Brian Burrell has attempted only 12 passes for a total of just 51 yards without a touchdown. Isaiah Burse, another 1,000 yard receiver for the Bulldogs, will also graduate which may have put Adams into double coverage that much more often. With a pair of productive running backs returning, the team might also have opted to rush more in 2014. Seems like the right choice for Adams. It will also make Nebraska's visit to Fresno in September that much easier.
Brandon Coleman, Rutgers
Coleman is an interesting case because he wasn't a standout nationally in terms of production in 2013 (34 catches, 538 yards and 4 TD's). Even his best season (2012) saw him catch just 43 balls for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was much more of a big play weapon in 2011 when he tallied 552 yards and 6 scores on just 17 catches. His 6'6" and 220 lbs. frame are sure to get him notices. Still, one wonders if his draft stock might look like former Husker Maurice Purify. It's possible that Coleman was concerned that further regression from where he was as a sophomore could harm his NFL draft prospects. His quarterbacks have been fairly undistinguished and his team is set to join a more difficult conference. Perhaps a transfer to a more high-powered passing team would have been a better option. Nevertheless, his departure should make defending Rutgers substantially easier.
Allen Robinson, Penn State
Over the past two seasons, the Nittany Lions have been forced to rely heavily on Robinson. Another year would certainly have helped the incoming replacement for Bill O'Brien substantially easier. One would think that James Franklin, or whomever the incoming coach is, might lobby hard for Robinson to postpone his departure another season if he hasn't signed yet with an agent. You'd expect that PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg will only get better. There are a lot of soft spots on the Penn State schedule he could feast on. Nebraska won't face the Nittany Lions next year, but the loss of Robinson could really impact the program's future. The pressure is on to win at least 7 or 8 games next year and that may not happen without Robinson.
With six days remaining for players to declare for the draft, we could see some more standouts come out early. Already, we see some future opponents weakened by these decisions.