As the will-they-go-or-won't-they talk surrounding college football's draft eligible juniors heats up, there's been a substantial amount of chatter that the potential NFL lockout might encourage players to stay in school rather than risk murky draft waters polluted by a work stoppage.
But if A.J. Green is any indication, that talk isn't going to be anything more than wishful thinking on the part of college football fans:
Green said Saturday that a possible NFL lockout will “not be a part of my decision,” of whether to enter the NFL draft.Because of that top-five appraisal, Green's situation isn't the same as another potential early-entrant who might land closer to the second or third round or even the draft's second day; with talent like his, Green's going to be financially secure no matter when he declares.
Green would stun most observers if he doesn’t enter the draft because he’s projected as a top-five overall draft pick.
“I’m close,” Green said about his decision. “I’m going to talk to my parents a little more and we can see.”
Green said he was among several Georgia players that met with Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay last week on campus ... McKay has served on the NFL Management Council working group that helps advise on collective bargaining issues.
Green said that his thoughts on the NFL lockout were based in part on hearing McKay, who serves on several NFL committees.
“I’m not going to think about the lockout,” Green said.
But nonetheless, if what Green is hearing point-blank from NFL sources that the lockout isn't something to worry over, it's doubtful many other top prospects are going to hear differently when there's so much money at stake. Until an equally high-profile draftee says otherwise, don't expect the lockout to do much to slow the usual exodus.