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I certainly hope he stays for next year but based on what Tony has said it is certainly possible that he leaves. Obviously he isn't the prototypical receiver for the NFL but his primary value as a pro is as a special teams player and it is hard to imagine his stock getting any higher than it is right now in that regard. I have said the same thing about Boyd and Hopkins at Clemson. It is difficult to imagine them having better years next year than they had this year. So much can happen out of the players control to impact someone's draft status in either direction. Coming back doesn't always mean improving your draft projections. Returning punts is a hard thing to do and if that is where he earns his living at the next level it may be in his best interest to leave early. I hope he stays but it is not always a clear cut decision. There are a lot of things to consider.
Agree to an extent. His future is most likely as a returner but he has a chance to a decent receiver with the right team (think Patriots). He could still come back next year and improve his actual receiving numbers. Nothing he does will get him into the top 3 rounds but coming back and getting more yards and TDs might be the difference from being an undrafted free agent or a late round pick.
You gotta go in basketball and football when your hot and your draft potential is highest. If Ace can go no,later than the fifth round then he needs to go. If not he can come back and return 4-5 punts for TD's next year.
Don't see him improving his draft status much because he isn't getting taller. The big knock used to be stay and at least get a degree to fall back on but now players that leave early still get to come back and have their school paid for. I hope he stays but understand if he leaves. I think he can make an NFL roster, doubt he's ever a star but I could see him sticking in the league for quite some time as a slot wr/punt returner.
"Those who live in the past are cowards and losers" -- Mike Ditka
He returned 3 for TD's this year. I think he would certainly have a better year next year returning kicks. As a receiver, he is still improving every game, and can absolutely improve his draft stock in that area. I think he will improve his stock by at least 1 round by staying next year. The league is starting to like these little, quick and fast slot guys. T.Y Hilton is an example from last years draft, and he is having a lot of success as a receiver.
I will support Ace in whatever he does, but he will most definitely improve his draft stock by staying next year.
Ally will beat the crap out of Uga.
Given the utter lack of offensive play making talent in this upcoming draft class, I am afraid Sanders may have played his last game as a Gamecock. I think he would stand to have better stats as a WR next year, as I feel as though there is a very good chance Shaw is not our starter next season or that Dylan at least sees more playing time (and there is no doubt we are more of a passing team without Shaw under center). However, as has been mentioned on here, another year isn't going to give Ace 5 more inches of height. I don't see how getting more yards or catches would make him any more draftable. He is clearly one of the most electric play makers in the SEC. NFL talent evaluators can already see that. Any benefit he would receive from coming back and duplicating or surpassing his performance this season would be cancelled out by the almost certain increase in offensive talent relatively speaking in next year's draft.
BTW, this logic is the same for Clemson's Hopkins and Boyd. Hopkins has a legit chance at being the first WR drafted. I don't see how he doesn't make the jump, especially given the comments you hear about his family's financial situation. Boyd simply will not increase his draft stock, it's as high as it will ever get. Not that I think he will make a good pro QB, but he had an incredible year and this class of QBs is dreadful. Boyd will probably look great in drills, since there's no pressure coming at him in them, and he just got finished leading a come from behind win versus a mighty SEC team. There are so many QB starved teams in the league, that I have to think someone would pluck him in the first 3 rounds and I simply don't see him ever getting any kind of shot better than that. Clemson fans are delirious with the thought of both of these guys returning (hell, Chad Morris tweeted something about more to come to Boyd), but looking at it objectively for the guy's pro prospects, they should both leave.
This post was edited by pluvlaw 18 months ago
I tend to agree, except I think if Carolina throws the ball more next year that Ace could catch 60 or 70 balls and make more plays as a receiver, which would help his value.
But you are right he isn't getting any taller and he has pretty much laid out his skill set to the pros at this point.
But I think if you are a 5'7 or 5'8 return specialist, it might be in your best interest to finish up that degree and try to get a little more draft protection.
I think he should worry less about draft positioning, since he will likely not go in the top 3 rounds this year or next, but on improving his chances of sticking in the NFL. So then it is a question of whether he has reached his ceiling from a standpoint of conditioning, route running, etc. to where he should go, or whether he could benefit from leaving. I can't really answer that because our passing game was so dysfunctional this year. But to me, it is short sighted to go now because you think you could be a 4th rounder vs. a 5th+ rounder next year if you only last 2 years in the league.
Conditioning isn't really a reason to stay.
If you declare you go get a trainer and work out 7 days a week and get in the best shape of your life, well if you are driven that is what you do, anyway.
Route running and production against quality opponents is definitely the upside. Get a bit of a name and evidence on film that gets you drafted a tad higher and gets the front office believing in you. Of course if you don't get more productive you lose something too.
"People always ask me if I wish I were bigger. I tell them no. I always wanted to be a miniature badass." Dustin Pedroia
He's not falling past the 4th round. Armanti Edwards got drafted 2nd round and he's not half the player Ace is. Special teams is huge and ace is the best punt returner I've seen in 5 years. Last one close was Tedd Ginn IMO.
Never said it was. I cited it as one factor when discussing whether he had done everything he could to get himself ready. And if he had let that slip, like Alshon did, it would have been a sign he was not really mentally ready for the NFL. Especially when Ace has a bit of an uphill battle.
Huge blow if we lose him.
Edwards is a good 3 or 4 inches taller than Ace and Carolina just fired its GM for decisions like drafting Armanti Edwards too high. Steve Smith would be a better comp, as he was a 3rd rounder. But even he is taller than Ace.
This post was edited by PalmettoLaw 18 months ago
He's a Actually a great Proto Type Slot WR in the NFL, quick and makes plays after he gets the ball in his hands
Plus his return skills are amazing
You took that the wrong way, I guess.
A prototype slot WR in the NFL is not 5'7 or 5'8.
Armanti was drafted in the 3rd, and their GM was mocked.
Kenny McKinley had a 77 catch, 1st team All SEC season to his credit, was three inches taller (at least), a better route runner and was drafted in the fifth round.
The best slot reciever in the NFL is 5'9
And he went undrafted because he does not have prototypical size or speed. Citing Welker to rebut statement that Ace does not have prototypical slot receiver size is like citing Russell Wilson to rebut the argument that Connor Shaw does not have prototypical QB size.
Ace should go if he can't improve his stock enough to make A LOT more money the next year. Hard to see how that happens. The pros will know what he is and catching 60 balls next year won't change that. And, let's not forget, he could be seriously injured. If the injury is to his legs and affects his cutting and change of pace, he would, at best, be a seriously compromised pro prospect given his skill set. I don't want him to leave, but if its in his best interest to go, wish him well and sell the next recruit on the latest player we sent to the NFL.
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