Ben Banogu has emerged as one of the most surprising stars in the Big 12 conference this fall. But Gary Patterson is hoping he has more than just the 2017 season with his star defensive end.
Banogu is now a first-round draft pick in ESPN expert Mel Kiper’s 2018 Mock NFL Draft. But Gary Patterson recently told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
“To be honest with you, he’s very young. He’s only played really one year of college football. He needs to get as much experience as he can. That would be my suggestion if he asked me. Because at the next level, there’s a lot of other intangibles that go into being that guy.”
I understand Patterson’s want to keep Banogu for another year in Fort Worth, but if the defensive end goes through workouts after this season and is a guaranteed first rounder, he has to go. While the rookie contracts aren’t what they were before the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, there are still millions of dollars at stake. In a sport where one injury can end a players’ career, there is little benefit to waiting.
The best example is former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who would have been an NFL star, but knee injuries in 2011 and then again in 2012 derailed his career. While Lattimore had no choice but to come back for two more seasons per NCAA/NFL rules, he could have absolutely played in the NFL after his freshman season in 2010. He was that kind of talent. So was Adrian Peterson. Some guys out there can just do it.
Then of course, more recently, was Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith who blew out his knee in last year’s Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. He went from a top 10 pick to a second rounder and is just getting back on the field this season with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now in the NBA, it’s all about the second contract, because that’s where big, big money can be made. Also, NBA rookie contracts are two years, with an option, and some second rounders get totally hosed with their deals. In the NFL, rookie deals are for four years and the money is still significantly bigger than the NBA.
Last year’s number one pick in the NFL Draft, Mitch (oh, excuse me, Mitchell), Trubisky, received a $20 million signing bonus and a total contract worth $30 million. At number 10, Patrick Mahomes’ total contract was worth $16 million, with $10 million guaranteed. The last pick of the first round was Ryan Ramczyk by the Saints, whose total contract is worth $9 million, with a $4.5 million signing bonus.
By comparison, the last pick of the first round in the NBA Draft was Josh Hart, whose deal was slotted to be for either two years and $3 million or four years and $7.5 million.
If a college basketball player can go from a borderline first or second round pick to the lottery, it’s a no brainer. But as you can tell based on the guaranteed money, along with the higher odds of a career-threatening injury, then a college football player who gets a first round grade should go.
I know it’s tough for TCU fans to think about since Banogu is third in the Big 12 in tackles for loss and fifth in tackles and has ideal NFL size at 6-foot-4, 257 pounds. But if I were advising Banogu and he completes the season he’s projected to have, while receiving a first round grade, he has to go.
It will sting, but it would be the right call for the young man. And ultimately, that’s what this decision should be all about.