Two weeks after a season-ending injury, UCLA junior linebacker Myles Jack has announced his withdrawal from school and his intention to enter next spring’s NFL draft. And because of an insurance policy he took out on his health after his breakout freshman year, it’s a win-win proposition for him.
Jack, who also serves as a short-yardage running back and has found the end zone 11 times in his 27-game college career, tore a meniscus in practice and had to decide whether to come back for his senior year, or declare for the draft and rely on NFL evaluators to decide his talent outweighs any concern about his health. He chose the latter, and this probably made things a lot easier:
Jack was projected as a first-round pick before the injury. If scouts aren’t scared off, he’ll still get first-round money. If he drops, he’ll get $5 million. Jack purchased the insurance policy in the spring of 2014, which covers his “loss of value” only in the case of injury, for a premium reportedly in the neighborhood of $50,000.
It’s injuries like Jack’s that have many believing that LSU sophomore RB Leonard Fournette ought to just skip his junior year. He’d be a top 10 pick in 2017 if he never suited up for another college game, and can only see his stock drop by continuing to play. (Fournette, unsurprisingly, is looking into an insurance policy of his own.)
UCLA coach Jim Mora said he tried to dissuade Jack from leaving.
“As I told Myles on Sunday, NFL teams are very, very conservative,” Mora said. “If there is any question whatsoever, they are going to pass on you in a heartbeat. They’re going to take the sure thing. I explained that to them, but he felt like they had already made their decision.”
And then Mora made public remarks saying he believes “it’s very risky to do this...there is going to be a lot speculation on exactly what he is and where he fits.”
Mora’s not saying this stuff because he’s a dick. (He is, but still.) He’s saying it because he’s not concerned with anything but having the best players on his team, whether or not that best serves those individual players. Jim Mora’s looking out for Jim Mora next year, not for Myles Jack. Good thing Jack’s looking out for himself too.