About time to update NFL departures. Here's my first thoughts on the topic, and here's an additional thought or two on Murray and Geathers, who are the two big question marks. I've almost finished an update on the quarterback and defensive tackle that should be out later today or tomorrow morning. For now, let's look at the easy ones.
As expected, Alec Ogletree is leaving. He wasted no time in announcing that after the game Tuesday. He was the easiest to read because he really can't do any more at this level and he's already lost plenty of time on the field, both to injury and stupidity. And still he's one of the best playmakers on the team and in the nation.
In fact, in terms of production there arguably wasn't a better linebacker this season, anywhere. Even though he was suspended for four games he still out tackled everyone else on the team and averaged 11 per game. That's good enough for 8th in the nation. He is still a raw talent having moved from safety to linebacker while in Athens, but he won't last long in this draft as teams will jump at the chance to add his speed to their roster.
And while we're looking forward, it will be interesting to see what Tree does at the Pro Day and the NFL combine. Despite his ability and production, he has off the field questions as well as some that concern his durability. If he decides to showcase his skills in a lot of drills I think there could be several teams looking to draft him very early, including a handful that are willing to move up to do so.
Jarvis has also proved everything he can at the college level. He passed on first round money this time last year and did nothing but improve his stock in 2012. He's been at the top of mock draft boards and scout's lists for months. Like Tree, Jones really has no choice but to jump early either. Depending on how things shake out on the actual day of the draft, he could go as high as #1 or slide down around #10. In short, his financial future is set.
But what about his playing future? Can Jarvis evolve into an every down linebacker at the NFL level? We saw teams like Bama run right at him with great success. That's something he'll have to work on if he wants to see the field early in his career on downs other than 3rd and long. And there's no question he has the size and the strength to address that area of his game.
And still there is always the question of a team being the right fit. For Tree that might be an easier question as there are a number of defenses that could utilize his skills in different ways, similar to the way Thomas Davis developed as an NFL player. However, Jarvis would undoubtedly work best in a 3-4 base defense and there are currently only 12 teams that use that defense. Of those twelve, six of them have yet to finish playing. Meaning, they will be drafting from a low first round spot, presumably after Jarvis will be selected. So unless the Chiefs decide they want Jarvis in the top spot, he might best fit in with the Jets at number nine.
Regardless, any team that feels like questioning Jarvis Jones' drive and determination, need only go back to his time at USC in their research. He'll be a star at the next level. Just a question of how soon.