Entering The Draft

By R44

Former USC defensive tackle Manuel Wright declaring for the Supplemental was the worst kept secret in college football. DraftDaddy.com had been reporting since February that the talented Wright would not qualify academically and would be forced to opt for the NFL.

Wright had hoped to start at least one season before making the jump to the NFL. And, with Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson going to the NFL, his chance had seemingly arrived. Nontheless, not only did he fail to stay academically eligible, he seemed to leave USC in a final blaze of academic incompetency, which would make Beavis and Butthead proud–rumor has it that he failed at least half of his classes and maybe more. But let’s be honest, I highly doubt the USC staff signed him up for chemistry and advanced microeconomics.

But in fairness to Wright, he’s been candid from the start, admitting that he had very little academic ambition and merely wanted to do his thing. That is, of course, play football. Had he played another sport (NFL is the only major league with an age restriction), he claims he would have gone pro right after high school.

Player: Wright was a high school superstar coming out of the famed Long Beach Poly High School, which has sent more players to the NFL than any other school in America. As a matter of fact, current USC stars Darnell Bing and Winston Justice both attended Long Beach Poly with Wright–so you can imagine the talent level there.

Back in 2001, Wright was one of the most highly sought after prep recruits in the nation due to his unique size/speed ratio: At 6′ 5″ and almost 300 pounds, he was believed to possess 4.85 40 speed. Stats wise, he had 160 tackles, 16 sacks and 20 deflections as a high school senior. As a junior, in 2000, he registered 25 sacks–so that’s 41 sacks in two seasons, at the highest level of California high school football.

But that speed and talent could not be put to use at USC, or any other school immediately, because Wright failed to qualify academically. Instead, he was forced to attended Long Beach City College for a season as a part-time student to improve his academic standing (he didn’t play football there).

When he finally did make it to USC, weight issues (he once ballooned to 350 pounds) and academics issues, coupled with the presence of Cody and Patterson, kept him on the bench as a freshman. He did break out a bit as a sophmore, however, registering 23 tackles (6 for losses) and two sacks in 2004, serving as the teams third tackle. It wasn’t stellar, but he showed some flashes of being a “potential first rounder”–something that USC coaches had been telling writers privately since he arrived at the Los Angeles school.

Projection: It is almost impossible to tell at this point, but 2nd to 4th round, based soley on potential, would make some sense. That is, if he works out fairly well before the Supplemental Draft. If he comes in out of shape and runs poorly, he may drop to the 4th or 5th rounds, considering teams just don’t know that much about him and may question his work ethic if he’s unprepared for workouts.

We’ll say 2th to 3rd round, because the Packers used a 5th round pick recently to select cornerback Micheal Hawkins, who also had a shaky background. Like Wright, Hawkins was a prep superstar, who only spent one season as backup at Oklahoma, before disappearing for two seasons. Hawkins re-emerged in 2004 with the Dallas Desperados of the AFL, but did very little in the indoor league to prove his worth. Despite his checkered history, Hawkins ran extremely well at SMU’s Pro Day (4.44) and all was forgotten on Draft Day, when the Packers used a mid-round pick on him.

Wright has more college experience and is believed to be a better prospect. So, even if he has a “decent showing” at his pre-draft workouts, he’ll be selected fairly high. That’s just the way it is, as NFL teams tend to draft based on potential, more than refined talent.

Former Clemson wide receiver Roscoe Crosby has entered the NFL’s Supplemental Draft.

The former two sport star once looked like the second coming Bo Jackson to Kansas City Royals Vice President of Baseball Operations and Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett, who played with Jackson in the 1980’s.

In 2001 Roscoe Crosby seemed to have it all. At the urging of Brett, he received a $1.75 million bonus from the Royals to spend his summers with the organization and he even set Clemson records for receptions and reception yards by a first-year freshman with 27 receptions for 465 yards.

But that was a moment in time that was never repeated, as the “two sport star” eventually did nothing in either sport due to a rash of injuries and some off-field issues.

The Royals recently won their appeal to void payments totaling $750,000 in signing bonuses to Crosby, because the 6′ 3″, 200 pound outfielder/wide receiver failed to show up for a couple season. Basically, Crosby, who was a second-round pick in the 2001 amateur draft, took $1 million from the small market Royals for doing nothing–he never played an inning of minor league ball, despite that $1 million bonus he kept.

With his baseball career going nowhere, he is trying to get back into football. Considering Crosby’s history of injuries and off-field issues, he’ll need to have amazing workouts in front of NFL scouts if he has any hopes of being selected in the Supplemental Draft. Walking away from both the Royals and Clemson (multiple times, in fact) shows a definite lack of character, in our opinion.

R44 is the Head Editor of draftdaddy.com, a Jet Nation affiliated website dedicated to providing premium draft information to die-hard fans of the NFL.

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