Even though the NFL Draft was in late April, the deadline for underclassmen to declare was in mid-January. It doesn’t happen too often, but that’s a wide enough window for a prospect who didn’t initially plan on going pro to have something come awry with his eligibility before the next season.
For Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, it was just grades.
Just got off phone with @CoachTimLester regarding today’s Sam Beal news: Beal didn’t earn enough credits this academic year to be eligible in ‘18. *Could have earned enough in summer, but would have had to petition NCAA for eligibility.
— Andy Pepper (@APepperWWMT) June 6, 2018
Beal would’ve been a redshirt-senior this season with a lot of attention from scouts and draft junkees. Beal was a Second Team All-MAC corner for the Broncos that broke up 10 passes and intercepted two last year. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Beal played all but one game as a Bronco.
If taken in the supplemental draft, Beal would likely be the 44th to be taken this way. He was already getting first-round hype, which is not a bad situation to be in.
Is it embarrassing to have news about you be trending over grades? Of course it is. But if you’re going to fail, fail up. If teams really do think Beal can be a first or second-day draftee next year, they’ll take him early in the supplemental draft now. It’s likely he’ll be the earliest player taken in the draft since Josh Gordon with the Browns in 2012. When Gordon signed with the team, his four-year contract was worth $5.3 million.
That’s a lot more money than what he would be making by going to college this year. He could always go back to school, too.
Now without Beal and Darius Phillips, Tim Lester and his staff is going to have to figure out how to replace two NFL-caliber corners.