Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipped their bowl games and were Top 10 picks. Jake Butt got hurt in his bowl game and dropped to the fifth round. Those three players may change the way future draft prospects look at the decision to play in bowl games.
Bengals tackle and NFL Players Association president Eric Winston says that decision should be a business decision. Winston told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com that players should feel free to sit out bowl games to stay healthy, and if they want to play they should demand that the school provide them with insurance policies that will pay off if they get hurt and fall in the draft.
“Whatever it might be, there’s not a right and wrong answer,” Winston says. “It’s a business decision that needs to be made, and shouldn’t be made because, ‘Oh, they paid for my school.’ It’s gotta be made because it’s the right business decision for you going forward. And let’s face it, there’s another side to this. The schools could be giving out insurance policies to all these guys much bigger than they are right now. Any guy that’s draft eligible, especially first, second, third round, why would you ever play a bowl game without your school buying you a couple million dollars of insurance on loss of value?”
Winston also said he respects McCaffrey’s decision to tell teams that he wouldn’t work out for them individually. Players have more power to determine for themselves how the draft process is going to work for them than they may realize, and the players’ union wants them to know that.