David Shaw, Ed McCaffrey disagree on NFL Draft eligibility rules
Sophomore star Christian McCaffrey is not eligible to enter the 2016 NFL Draft because he is not yet three years removed from graduating high school. However, the topic of college players entering the draft early came up once again during the Heisman Trophy week in New York City.
Stanford head coach David Shaw and McCaffrey's father, former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, addressed the topic. Their opinions on the matter were very different, to say the least.
“I've heard this debate a lot,” said Shaw, via the MMQB. “Andrew Luck wasn’t even ready after three. The difference with Andrew is that Andrew knew it. A lot of guys don’t know it. I tell our players, ‘It’s a different sport. It’s not the next level of your sport, it’s a different sport. In the NFL they are faster, they are stronger, the locker room is different, the coaching is different, the media is different. Your daily life is different.’ Look what happens in Major League Baseball—those really talented 18- and 19-year olds who disappear and you never hear from them again. It happens with a lot of NBA guys. First year, second year out of high school … Their lives are not in order. It’s sink or swim. You need to be as physically and mentally and emotionally developed. Some people just stop [developing] physically. Andrew is the perfect case. You can ask him the difference between him being year three or year four [at Stanford] and how much more ready he was for that world to jump in and not just play, but live.”
While Shaw believes that player aren't ready after just a couple of seasons in college, the elder McCaffrey seemed to believe that some players are ready to make the jump after two seasons.
“This is going to shock you,” said McCaffrey, via the MMQB. “… I think the rule, personally, should be that you can leave after two years. I’ll throw Leonard Fournette into the mix. You think Leonard Fournette is not physical enough to be in the NFL right now? I mean, look at the guy, he’s ready.”
While McCaffrey believes that some players are ready, he added that the NFL should allow players to enter the draft AND have the option of returning to school.
“But I do believe if you think you can leave after two years and you don’t get drafted, you should have an option to go back and play [in college],” said McCaffrey. “Playing in the NFL was such a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would encourage players who know that they are going to be drafted in the first or second round to leave early and take advantage of that opportunity. If someone was talking about an actor and they were young, they wouldn’t say, ‘Wait ’til you are older to act.’ I think it’s the same thing with football.”
As for his son's own journey to the NFL, McCaffrey believes that his son would succeed at the NFL right now, despite his size and lack of experience.
“Regarding Christian, I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from that he could grow and develop, but every single player I have seen enter the NFL had room to grow and develop. He’s the same size as Jamaal Charles, he’s taller than Barry Sanders, he’s a little heavier than Reggie Bush. He’s not a bigger back like some of the backs you see in the league, but that’s not his game. His game is speed and quickness and finesse.”