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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Analysis: Should Eben Britton have declared for the NFL Draft?

    PRO: Britton made right decision

    by Ari Wasserman, assistant sports editor

    Until earlier this year it was a big mystery as to whether Arizona football star Eben Britton would declare for this year’s NFL draft or return for his senior season with the Wildcats.

    But was it really?

    “”(Getting to the NFL) is what I am working for and that’s what I have always dreamed of doing,”” Britton told the Wildcat in early December. “”If someone would have told me it was this close within my grasp, I probably wouldn’t have believed it because it is so surreal.””

    While Arizona isn’t usually a main source of national attention, Britton found a way to ease into the spotlight in terms of stock in the NFL draft, as the 21-year-old offensive tackle – who stands 6 foot 6 inches tall and weighs 310 pounds – has draft analysts singing his praises.

    Heading into April’s draft, Britton is rated one of the top options in terms of offensive tackles available. ESPN, who uses Scout Inc., as a resource to rate NFL prospects, has Britton listed as the sixth-best tackle in the draft and the 41st-best overall player.

    “”My family could be taken care of for the rest of our lives, my kids, my grandkids, if I am smart with my money and I do the right things,”” Britton said more than a month ago before he made his decision to enter the draft. “”I might not have to work again and that’s a great feeling.””

    It looks as if that is so, which is the reason Britton made the right decision to jump for the next level.

    The whole goal of college football is to properly prepare student-athletes for life after school, whether in the professional arena of that given sport or in a career or life outside of it.

    Britton has solidified himself as a first-day draft pick, which assures him a pretty big paycheck and gives him a very good chance at landing a steady job in the NFL, something that’s elusive to the majority of college football players.

    The only way jumping for the NFL would be a bad decision is if he could further solidify himself for next year’s draft. But being rated as high as he already is, it is unlikely an additional year in Tucson will raise his stock any higher.

    Try telling Britton he made the wrong choice when he gets his check and has a steady job in the NFL. The life of the college athlete can be glamorous, but at the same time, the NFL is only that much better.

    CON: One more year, one year wiser

    By Brian Kimball, sports editor

    Sometimes the big bucks of the NFL can be blinding.

    Junior Eben Britton declared for April’s draft and in the process negated any chance he had at coming back to Tucson and continuing to improve his offensive line skills.

    I’m not saying the Burbank, Calif., native will be a bust in the NFL, but there’s no guarantee he’s going to be drafted in the first two rounds. He might be listed as a top-10 prospect as an offensive tackle, but the key word there is “”prospect.””

    Britton was undoubtedly a force on the Wildcats’ offensive line, but Idaho, New Mexico, Stanford and the Washington schools aren’t anywhere close to on par with solid college defenses, let alone NFL-caliber talent. Britton didn’t exactly impress scouts in a 17-10 loss to then-No. 5 USC on Oct. 25. The Trojan defensive unit – stocked with elite-level talent like linebackers Ray Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Kyle Moore – dominated the Wildcats and held them to just 88 yards passing and 188 offensive yards overall.

    Perhaps if Britton returned for a senior season he could have a better showing next season against USC – on the road against more top talent – and help lead a less experienced group of Wildcats in the hunt for a second-straight bowl berth.

    It was virtually certain that Britton would eventually suit up on Sundays somewhere; it was just a question of how many years he’d pull on the Arizona jersey before he inked a deal in the prime time.

    Even during his scouting process, UA head coach Mike Stoops said he knew Britton had the potential to play in the NFL one day. Stoops and his staff did a good job helping Britton improve his technique and become a more well-rounded player, and the junior certainly lived up to his reputation for being a solid player so far, but did he get all he could out of his time at Arizona Stadium?

    Certainly not.

    For one, the Wildcats could use a veteran voice of some sort next season as new faces will be debuting all across the offense. Britton could show off his leadership skills if he’s able to steer the team in the right direction.

    While Britton will definitely get drafted at some point, and likely sign a hefty contract after his rookie contract expires, the uncertainty of another year in college seems to have swayed Britton to the NFL.

    I wish him the best of luck at the next level, but if he stayed one more season I know I wouldn’t have to.

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