December 24, 2007

Going, Going, Gone?

If Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew had a theme song at the moment, there's one that would certainly come to mind.

How about "Should I stay or should I go?" from The Clash?

It's a pretty appropriate theme for the junior Cowboy, who is weighing his options about coming back to Stillwater next fall or going pro early and taking his chances in the 2008 NFL Draft.

So what will he do?

"I've sent in projections," Pettigrew said.

Now, since he's put the feelers out there, the next step for the dynamic tight end is hear back and find out exactly where he is projected to go. That should be known relatively soon, as underclassmen must declare for the draft by Jan. 15, 2008. Once they do that, there's no going back.

Right now, there are plenty of unofficial projections out there. For example, DraftTek.com lists Pettigrew as the No. 5 tight end in the draft, projecting to go as the 90th pick, which would equate to a late-third round choice. That site has four other tight ends ahead of him in their mock draft:

53rd Selection: Fred Davis, USC: 55 receptions, 794 yards, 7 touchdowns, 14.4 yards per catch
55th: John Carlson, Norte Dame: 40, 372, 3, 9.3
78th: Martin Rucker, Missouri: 81, 815, 8, 10.1
83rd: Kellen Davis, Michigan State: 28, 475, 5, 17.0

Pettigrew's numbers hold their own against the above stats, even moreso if you go the "per capita" route. This past season, he had 501 yards and four touchdowns, but only off of 32 catches. That's a 15.7 yards per catch average. Not bad numbers considering the amount of offense he saw.

Which is why Pettigrew is having to weigh his future now instead of just coming back for a final season at OSU. If he's really going to be a third- or fourth-round pick, is there a reason to stay in Stillwater? Sure there are. But none of those reasons lead to millions of dollars. And that's the crux of the issue facing a young and talented football player.

Neither choice is a wrong answer. But one choice could be a life-changing answer.

"I guess I'm going to have to make a decision here pretty soon," he said. "I don't really know what I'm going to do yet. So I'll just have to make the decision after the bowl game."

If Pettigrew does declare for the draft after the Dec. 31 Insight Bowl, he'll move onto the next phase of his career. He'd immediately start preparing for February's NFL Draft Scouting Combine, which is where 300 of the best collegiate prospects come together and showcase their abilities for NFL scouts and coaches. That will take place between Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis. After that, those players then anxiously await the 2008 NFL Draft in New York City, which will unfold on Apr. 26-27.

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