Why is Jevan Snead turning pro?

On January 7, Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead announced he would forgo his senior season to enter the 2010 NFL draft.

The decision prompted a similar response from several draft experts, scouts and fans alike: Why?

Don’t get me wrong. Snead is a big, strong kid who is capable of making all of the throws at the next level. He’s played against solid competition in the SEC and has demonstrated-at times-the ability to get rid of the ball quickly.

But having the physical tools it takes to succeed in the NFL and being NFL-ready are two different things. Take a look at Snead’s 2009 numbers and where they rank compared to the rest of the country:

As you can see, Snead ranks outside of the top 100 in completion percentage and QB Rating. In addition, in three years at Ole Miss, Snead has compiled a 55.1% completion percentage. You better believe that is going to raise some concerns.

Remember, Snead’s decision to enter this year’s draft means he will spend the next few months being compared to quarterbacks Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) and Colt McCoy (Texas), who are all turning pro as well. In addition, Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow are also in the mix.

Here is what NFL draft expert Mel Kiper had to say about Snead’s decision:

“I think Jevan Snead made a mistake by jumping. Let me say this first: It's not because of talent.

Snead has talent, and when his performance lives up to his good size, great arm and pretty instinctive ability to move, you have a potentially really good quarterback. I'll admit I was really high on the kid at one point; I even said his arm could remind Ole Miss fans of Eli Manning.

Good thing I only said "arm." That's because Snead is coming out when his stock is at the lowest point it's been. The circumstances of his departure aside, he needed another year in Oxford. Desperately.”

And that’s just Kiper’s take.

So let’s break this thing down. Snead’s numbers were unimpressive, he’s going up against a plethora of talented quarterbacks and he’s being questioned all over the country for turning pro.

Why is he leaving?

There are only three reasons that come to mind and they don’t begin to outweigh the benefits of staying in school for another year.

First off, there’s the threat of a career-ending injury that could derail any hopes of an NFL future. But take a look at running back Willis McGahee (Miami) and quarterback Sam Bradford. McGahee suffered one of the nastiest knee injuries in college football history (no, I’m not linking to it) and was still selected in the first round of the draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Bradford’s 2009 campaign was cut short due to a shoulder injury, but he’s still projected as a first-round prospect who could realistically be drafted No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams.

Second, several of Snead’s offensive teammates won’t be back in 2010. Offensive linemen John Jerry, Daverin Geralds and Reid Neely are all gone, as are wide receiver Shay Hodge and running back Dexter McCluster.

In addition, there is an interesting rumor floating around the college football world that Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt told Snead during his postseason interview that he wouldn’t be handed the starting job in 2010 and would have to compete with current freshman Nathan Stanley.

Let me emphasize that the third reason is just a rumor and has not been confirmed.

Whatever the case may be, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone out there currently giving Snead anything higher than a third-round grade. Especially after a bowl game performance that saw him complete just 13 of 23 passes for 168 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions.

However, I’ll be the first to wish him the best of luck because Snead’s got the talent and he’s got the potential.

I just don’t understand the decision.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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