It’s been 16 years since Randy Moss vowed to “rip it up” at the NFL level. And rip it up he did.
While former USC receiver Marqise Lee isn’t as colorful, he possesses similar confidence.
“I feel like I am the caliber to be that No.1 receiver,” Lee recently told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “That’s my goal: To come in immediately and get it going.”
A year ago, more scouts and pundits would have been inclined to agree, given that Lee was coming off a Biletnikoff Award-winning season. However, his final year at Southern Cal became a major disappointment, with less than half the total catches and less than half the total yards.
So what changed?
“Ain’t nothing changed,” Lee said. “I don’t know what scouts are seeing as far as me being this in 2012 and me being this in 2013. As far as production goes and doing my job — it’s the same. The only thing that changed is stuff I couldn’t control.”
He definitely can’t control his draft stock. Some see him as landing between No. 16 and No. 25 in round one. Others see him sliding out of the first night completely.
Lee did have control in another area, that would have actually helped his draft stock. He could have chosen not to play in 2013, resting on his 1,721-yard sophomore season and not risking an off year due to injuries, quarterback problems, team turmoil, and other factors.
Some believe that, eventually, a player destined to be a high first-round pick only two years removed from high school will choose to sit for his third year. He’ll likely take plenty of heat for it — particularly from the fans of his college team — but it’s an option that players need to consider as they navigate the big business of college and pro football.
Everyone else treats it like the big business that it is; the earlier in life that a player realizes it’s a big business, the better off the player will be.