Thomas makes surprising draft decision

In a surprising -- shocking? -- decision, Oregon junior QB Darron Thomas has decided to enter the NFL draft a year early.

Two reactions.

  • USC just became the strong front-runner in the Pac-12.

  • And Thomas actually declared himself available for free agency, because he's unlikely to be drafted.

Beyond the fact that he was a spread-option and not a pro-style QB, NFL scouts are likely to question Thomas' mechanics and accuracy, and Thomas is not athletic enough to play another position.

Did Thomas get bad advice from those bad advice givers who linger around athletes and say, "Hey, do this!" without having any idea what they are talking about? No idea. But this is a terrible decision.

Rising sophomore Bryan Bennett, who some Oregon fans believe is better than Thomas already -- faster, better passer -- now becomes the likely 2012 starter. This past season, he came on for the injured Thomas against Arizona State and started at Colorado, and his solid play inspired a QB controversy, albeit muted and brief.

Here's what Thomas said in a statement:

“I came to this decision on behalf of myself and my family,” Thomas said. “I have a dream of playing in the NFL and I’m going to pursue those dreams.

“I would like to thank everyone in Oregon for all their support and I would thank the coaches for all their help, especially Coach [Chip] Kelly.” Thomas added. “I love my teammates and wish them the best of luck, and am confident they will continue the winning tradition that has been established. Last but not least, I thank all the Oregon fans for their help and support.”

The Pac-12 blog hopes someone in Thomas' family talks him out of this. This is, to repeat, a terrible decision. Read between the lines in Kelly's statement.

“As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players,” Kelly said. “I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.”

The information provided to Thomas said: Don't enter the draft because you are not ready. Thomas apparently ignored that information.

We wish him good luck. But hope he reconsiders.

Here's The Portland Oregonian.

And the Eugene Register-Guard.