Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decision Time: Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas

Why Dezmon Briscoe made the right decision to turn pro and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Program in transition: New head coach Turner Gill has big shoes to fill. Say what you want about Mark Mangino being an insensitive brute; the man completely turned around a program in ruins. In fact, since coming to Kansas in 2002, the big man engineered a high-flying and prolific offense, which led throngs of fans to donate the necessary funds to bring KU’s facilities up to Big 12 standards. While Gill inherits a good player base to remain competitive in the early-going, the former quarterback’s resume at Buffalo saw him amass a 15-18 record in conference play in a rather weak Mid-American Conference. Even in his conference-winning season a year ago, Gill’s squad was barely a .500 team, which played its best game in the conference final. The Bulls went on to lose their bowl game despite being located only a stone’s throw away from the game’s site in Toronto. Also, the fact that Gill is a Nebraska guy may dissuade top recruits from committing to the Jayhawks due to the perception that he’ll immediately jump ship to coach his old team if given the opportunity. Briscoe didn't wait to find out who the new head coach would be, but Coach Mangino had more than one foot out the door when the wide out made his decision.

2. New quarterback takes over for Reesing: Kansas fans are bracing themselves for life after Todd Reesing, who was the ring leader of an electrifying passing game thanks to his intelligence, accuracy and consistent play. Briscoe’s return to Kansas would have had him adjusting to the growing pains of the athletic, but unproven Kale Pick at quarterback.

3. It doesn’t get any better than this: While completing a four-year college education is the right and honorable thing to do, all that goes at the window when a first- or second-round selection is in the offing. Briscoe is a long, physical receiver with the ability to break tackles and change directions after the catch. Despite an occasional bout of the dropsies, the 6’3” wide out is skilled enough to contribute right now at the next level and would only risk seeing his value drop by returning to a Kansas team in transition.

Mancini’s Take: Although he’s never been accused of being a speed merchant, Briscoe has the size, strength, body control, and leaping ability to be a difference-making weapon. In addition, the playmaker possesses key intangibles that pro teams covet, such as effectiveness as a blocker, amazing balance to remain in bounds at top speed, and on-field awareness. While Briscoe may still need to improve his consistency, he definitely has an NFL body and should be able to immediately overpower smaller defensive backs at the line of scrimmage and in the red zone.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Jacobsen, KU Athletics