Joe Randle announced his intention to enter the 2013 NFL Draft in the most 2013 way possible on Thursday — via direct message on Twitter to a local beat writer (in this case, Gina Mizell).
Then he tweeted this shortly thereafter…
I've decided to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL. I'll always be a Cowboys!
— Joseph Randle (@JRAN_1) January 10, 2013
I thought this might be coming but I kept trying to talk myself out of it.
He needs another year!
He’ll get more exposure if we win the Big 12 again!
Next year’s RB class is weaker!
But ultimately I think Randle made the right decision to turn pro.
There are about a billion mock draft boards out there, but for the sake of this argument, let’s use this one from my employer.
They have Randle ranked as the 5th best RB, going between rounds two and three, with only two seniors ahead of him. This means if everyone comes back next year and the status quo remains, Randle would be the 3rd best projected RB.
The highest projected pick for this year (if he comes out) is Eddie Lacy going in the second round. So even if he were to leapfrog Lacy as the best projected RB next year that doesn’t guarantee a first round selection for #1.
As you’ve read over and over, the shelf life of running backs is shrinking. Look no further than this to see why — defensive players are monsters, legitimate career-ending psychotic monsters. You have to take advantage of all the great, healthy years you can have while you’re young.
Plus, is Randle really going to boost his stock by coming back? As OKC Dave pointed out in the comments section this morning, we pretty much know what Randle is at this point: a strong, slick (potentially undersized) back who runs hard, is durable, and can catch balls out of the backfield as well as anyone who’s ever played at OSU.
Here are his yards per carry stats over his three years as a Cowboy.
Yards per carry
That’s not going to change next year. He’s hit his ceiling as a college player and the risk (see: Lattimore, Marcus) of coming back far outweighed the reward (another Big 12 title, not much change in draft stock[1. Since when do scouts care about how your team performs? Heck, they weigh the combine more heavily than they weigh team performance.]).
So farewell, Mr. Randle, your shimmy move in the open field will reside in the pantheon with Dez’s fade route, Desmond breaking toward the hoop on a fast break, Marcus Dove throwing up the wings after a dunk, Hart Lee’s “bye-bye” towel, Rashaun’s hip check, Weeden’s fist pump, and Gottlieb slapping the maple as one of my all-time favorite in-game subtleties.
And as Brendon Morris points out, Smith and Roland have some big shoes to fill.
Interested in seeing what Jeremy Smith does this year. Randle was OSU's 6th-straight all conference RB. No pressure, Jeremy.
— Brendon Morris (@brendon_wm) January 10, 2013