2017 first round picks Christian McCaffrey, Jabrill Peppers and Leonard Fournette “skipped” the final game of their college eligibility. While each had legitimate injury concerns, much was made of the college standouts setting themselves up for the NFL Draft with a cautious approach and, with the 2018 draft on its way, we are approaching the time of hot takes when it comes to what current players should do about their own health and standing.
Before the college regular season even ends, though, we reportedly have our first test case. This time around, it is Texas junior left tackle Connor Williams who is seemingly set to miss the bowl game in pursuit of the NFL.
Much like the trio from a year ago, Williams has a recent injury history that could play a part here. The talented tackle suffered a sprained MCL and PCL, in addition to a meniscus tear, in his left knee and that ailment cost him time during the 2017 campaign. Naturally, that should be weighed as a factor but, in the same breath, many will likely jump to point this as “selfish” or “greedy” behavior despite the prevailing fact that bowl games are exhibitions.
In his most recent draft rankings, Todd McShay of ESPN listed Williams as a top-15 player and, with millions on the line, it makes a ton of sense to preserve health in favor of the future. Just ask Michigan’s Jake Butt and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, among others.