With Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck announcing that he’s returning to school for another season, there’s only one question: Does A.J. Green send him a thank you note?
If Green says he’s coming back to Georgia, it would be even more stunning than Luck’s decision. I follow this general rule: When a college player sells his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000, he’s ready to make money.
By Luck staying in school, Green could be the first overall pick. That would give Georgia two first overall selections in the last three years (Matthew Stafford went No. 1 to Detroit in 2008.) It would be a nice honor for the school but there also could be a sense of, “Why didn’t we do more with them?”
Green is considered a lock top-five selection. ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranked Green as the fourth best prospect on his current “Big Board” (requires Insider subscription), behind Luck, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers and Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
With no other quarterback worthy of being drafted first overall, there’s no obvious No. 1 pick. But several mock drafts already have Green slotted in the No. 1 spot and going to the Carolina Panthers. Excerpts from a couple of them:
– The Orlando Sentinel: “Carolina has got to be upset that Andrew Luck, who was a lock here, is returning to Stanford. They could go with a defensive lineman here, but they are hurting bad at wide receiver and may take Green as an athletic, flashy pick to try and help Jimmy Clausen and pacify a restless fan base.”
– NFL Fanhouse: “So Andrew Luck won’t be the QB in Carolina next season. It’s a bad development for the Panthers, obviously, but what can you do? In this case, Carolina will either ride Jimmy Clausen or add a veteran QB (Vince Young? Donovan McNabb?) — either way, the Panthers need to give that quarterback some weapons. Green is an absolute stud.
Based on recent first overall picks and inflation, Luck left potentially $55 million of guaranteed salary on the table (pending changes in the next CBA that could cap rookie salaries). Two years ago, Stafford signed a contract worth up to $78 million, with $41.7 million guaranteed.
Maybe he and Green can build a library on campus or something.
– By Jeff Schultz
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