At the beginning of the season, it was convenient to blame the Arizona Wildcats' shortcomings on injuries, but it's painfully obvious that the issues on this team run deeper than that.
No injury got more coverage than that of Scooby Wright III, with good reason, since he did win every major defensive player of the year award last year.
Amid a report last week that Wright won't be able to return in the regular season, the junior linebacker should just work on getting himself pain-free, and move on from college football.
Entering the season, Wright was projected as a potential first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Will only playing about five quarters worth of football hurt his status? Probably, but coming back to Arizona isn't worth the risk.
The NFLPA says that an average player's career in the league is 3.3 years. If you're someone like Wright, who came into college with no fanfare, and now has the opportunity to make a mark on an NFL team, you can not put this opportunity off for another year.
Based on his performance last year, you would still think that an NFL GM would take him in the first three rounds, the fourth round at the latest. Will that fall have an impact on how much he could have made? Yes. Here's a chart from the 2014 Draft on the money drop off:
So, say Wright would have been the last pick in the first round if he had been able to play all year, and was healthy all year. The guaranteed money is in the $5M range. In the third round? A little more than 10% of that (average of $588K).
Big hit? Yes. But coming back to Arizona next year would also put him at risk of getting none of that, and not having the opportunity to prove himself in an NFL training camp. It's all about getting through that first contract, and he has the chance to start that process a year early.
He did everything he could do last year. He was the MVP of one of the best teams in school history. But if we want the best for Scooby, it's time for him to move on from Arizona and take the leap to the NFL.