This is list of guys who were draft eligible, but decided to go back to school. Only time will tell if they made a mistake , or if it was the right move. Either way I am sure their coaches,teammates and schools fans appreciate it.
1. Jake Locker- QB- Wash.- The possible QB draftee with the best tools this year. Has improved a lot under coach Steve Sarkasian( coached Leinert and Palmer at USC) and is in his 3rd year as a starter , although he missed a lot of time last year due to injury .A superior athlete and even a top baseball prospect. Despite his o8 injury scare he will return to school this season, and probably get even better before he has to face NFL defenses. His NFL career is better served by returning for one more year and improving in Sarkisians pro style offense, but he could have been this years toolsy type guy that usually wows someone in off season workouts and goes in the top 10. He is the early favorite for # 1 overall next year .
2. Cameron Heyward- DE- Ohio St. - A tall 4-3 end with the frame to get big enough to be a DT, or be a 3-4 end. His potential isn't as great as Carlos Dunlaps, but his motor is better and he is a more complete player already . Physical and fierce with NFL bloodlines( dad is Ironhead Heyward) . Great balance and agility. Polished pass rusher who uses his hands well to crate leverage. Dominant all along the line of scrimmage as a junior.
3. Bruce Carter- OLB- N. Carolina- Might have been the 1rst LB drafted if he had come out this year, but he and a lot of his teammates all decided to make another go of it. I sincerely hope it works out better for them than it did for the Oklahoma guys this season. He announced his intentions early on , so we haven't done as much work scouting him yet. Preliminary reports are he is a sideline to sideline guy who knows his responsibilities well. Also has the frame to add more weight and still keep that speed, and he would need to get bigger to project to a 3-4 rush backer.Right now he just lloks like a 4-3 guy though.
4. Ras-I Dowling- CB-VA. Tech.- A big strong, physical cover corner. Looks to have good speed,and is fluid for a big man. Also a solid citizen and nasty tackler.
5. Marvin Austin-DT-UNC- A lot of double teams have kept his numbers down, but he's the real deal. Can play either 3-4 end or 4-3 DT. Strong at the point and plays with good leverage. High motor and good hands. Multiple pass rush moves, but is more of a pressure player than a major sack threat currently. In a normal year where there wasn't such a ridiculous amount of D-Line talent, I think he would have gone top 2o, but this D-line class was so deep he might have slipped to the 2nd round. If he keeps getting better he might be a top 5 pick next year.
6. Gabe Carimi- OT- Wisconsin- A mammoth man with a mean streak. A better run blocker than pass blocker right now, but he has a year to prove he has the feet to play the blindside. Kind of reminds me of Jake Long . If he can make the progress Long made between his Jr .and senior years, he could be the 1rst OT taken in next years draft.
7. Ryan Mallett- QB- Arkansas- His bad showing in the liberty bowl probably was the clincher for returning to school. A big strong armed guy who reminds me of a less accurate Joe Flacco. If he can get his completion percentage in the mid 60's (and keep his pick rate low again )he could look a franchise QB .
8.Greg Romeus- DE- Pittsburgh- A phenomenal athlete with a huge frame,who is still learning how to play football. His upside was so high he still would have been a 1rst rounder this year. Lives in the opposing backfield when turned loose.A lot like Jason Paul- Pierre .
9. Von Miller- OLB/DE- Texas A&M- looks like a 3/4 OLB ,as he plays a hybrid position now. Led the nation in sacks and still went back to school. Probably the most surprising returnee in our eyes.Its doubtful his stock would be higher next year, but maybe he knows something we don't.Unless he adds a lot of muscle, or isn't as big( 6"2'-240 lbs.) as he was listed now, this was the best time to enter the draft.
10. Christian Ponder- QB- FLA. ST.- A late season injury made his return likely. His offense is pro ready, and he improved a lot this season. If he gets time he can light up a defense. Athletic and can make some plays with his feet as well. His size is a question mark right now, so another year to get taller and heavier couldn't hurt his stock.