STILLWATER â€” Brandon Weeden insists he's not pondering his potential place in next spring's NFL Draft, even as it's a focus for so many others.
The Oklahoma State quarterback eventually faces a dilemma: to stay in school and grow his game, as many recommend; or jump to the NFL for Phase 2 of his pro sports experiences before his competitive clock advances another click toward midnight.
Will he stay? Will he go?
â€œI don't really pay much attention to (the chatter),â€ said Weeden, a junior. â€œPeople are going to say things and make assumptions and things like that. But in the end, it's my decision. I haven't thought one way or the other.
â€œI haven't even talked to my wife about it.â€
The time is coming, though, with a Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the draft.
The bigger question for Weeden: should he go?
Early indications â€” no.
Weeden carries a memorable and even magical season into the Alamo Bowl. An unknown quantity as late as late September, he produced OSU records for passing yards, completions, passing touchdowns and total offense, becoming the Cowboys' first all-conference quarterback of the modern era.
Nationally, he ranks among the top five in passing yards (3rd), passing yards per game (2nd), passing touchdowns (4th) and total offense (2nd).
Some suggest Weeden's advanced age â€” the former pro baseball player is 27 â€” accelerates his need to move on to the next level. Yet those with a feel for the NFL point to a more important number: 12 1/2 games, Weeden's complete body of work as a college quarterback, which is hardly substantial.
With quarterbacks, NFL talent evaluators typically want to see more.
â€œWhen you write a report up, there will be a place down there for positives and negatives,â€ said Pat Jones, a former NFL assistant who's now a Fox analyst for college football. â€œOne of the things if you wrote a report up on him right now, a negative would be: â€˜one-year starter.'
â€œThere's a difference between being 20 and 28, but what difference is there in being 27 or 28? Another year would really do him good. You write the report a year from now and you're saying, â€˜Two-year starter.' And that guy's much better prepared to handle things.â€
Beyond the resume building, Jones said Weeden can really help himself on the field with another season.
â€œHe needs another year,â€ Jones said. â€œHe would benefit a lot; I mean a lot.â€
And that's a common sentiment.
Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki currently projects Weeden as a fourth-round pick, but reports that scouts he's talked to â€œwarn against him leaving early because he needs more reps that he won't get at the NFL level.â€
TOP QB PROSPECTS
Here's a look at this year's top quarterback prospects for the NFL Draft:
* Andrew Luck, So., Stanford
* Ryan Mallett, Jr., Arkansas
* Blaine Gabbert, Jr., Missouri
* Cam Newton, Jr., Auburn
* Jake Locker, Sr., Washington
* Ricky Stanzi, Sr., Iowa
* Nick Foles, Jr., Arizona
* Nathan Enderle, Sr., Idaho
* Christian Ponder, Sr., Florida State
* Colin Kaepernick, Sr., Nevada
* Tyrod Taylor, Sr., Virginia Tech
* Andy Dalton, Sr., TCU