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NFL draft: Looking back at other QBs who’ve faced the same question

By Jenni Carlson Published: December 14, 2008
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To stay or to go
OU’s Sam Bradford will soon face a tough decision — return to college football or head to the NFL. Several quarterbacks before him have faced the same question. Here’s a look at the decisions of two who stayed and two who left:

Peyton Manning
→The scenario: After his junior season at Tennessee, Manning was projected as the top overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. With his degree already finished, many believed he would leave school.

→The decision: Manning stayed in Knoxville for his senior season.

→The outcome: The Vols won the SEC championship but failed to win a national title. Manning also finished behind Charles Woodson in the Heisman Trophy balloting. The next spring, however, Manning received a nice consolation prize, being selected first overall in the NFL Draft. In the decade since, he’s become one of the league’s best.

Ben Roethlisberger
→The scenario: A relative unknown before the 2003 season, he became an intriguing NFL prospect after leading Miami (Ohio) to an undefeated season.

→The decision: Roethlisberger decided to leave Oxford for the NFL.

→The outcome: Pittsburgh drafted him No. 11 overall and planned to use him sparingly for a year or two as he learned the system. But by the third game of his rookie season, Roethlisberger was the starter.


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