Robert Sands has submitted all the preliminary paperwork to the NFL and has received the feedback for what he could expect should he choose to enter the draft.
He just doesn’t know what’s in that envelope and has instead forwarded that parcel to his mother. He says he doesn’t want to know what’s inside until after tonight’s game.
He’ll make up his mind then, though truth be told he’s already made a decision.
If he’s projected to be a first-round pick, he’s gone. If the NFL says second round, he’ll think. Anything else and Sands comes back to WVU. It’s what he says.
Different people have told me different things, but Sands seems right on the fringe of that second/third round and the think/stay decision. There is no uniformity he’s a first-round guy, but there’s no one telling him he’s crazy to stay in school, either.
Things may change when he gets to work out and is perhaps healthier than he has been all year, but he has obstacles.
Safeties are not often picked in the first round unless they’re special and Sands doesn’t have the buzz of a Troy Polamalu, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Laron Landry or even Eric Berry. Yet he is a really good player who has size and smarts and will make people happy if they get to call his name.
We just don’t know if it’ll be this April or the next one. In addition to his own status, Sands is also very aware of the NFL’s uncertain labor situation and how there might be an abbreviated season in 2011, or no season at all, but also that there might be a 2011 season and then a revamped and reduced rookie salary scale a year later.
And then there’s the prospect of returning to college and what awaits him on campus. If 2011 is like 2010, you do have to wonder if it’s all that enticing.
Sands was hurt throughout the year and wasn’t getting paid to play with the pain. The shoulder and knee injuries that bothered him from start to finish maybe conspired to drop his tackle total from 65 last year to 45 this year and his interception count from five to one.
Then again, that was Robert Sands in the secondary. The opposition knew that and pretty much stayed away.
“I experienced a lot of lonely games. A lot of lonely games,” he said. “There’s not much action going on back there when teams scheme against you.”