Mike Downey's column on the NFL draft was right on target until mention was made that the player should be able to enter the draft while still remaining eligible for college play, then choose whether to play for the team that drafted him or remain in college. It sounds good but would never be passed by the NFL. Two reasons: 1) a player's bargaining power; 2) the effect on the NFL team should the player remain in college.
Say a player applies as a junior and is drafted 15th. He knows that with this pick, he will be offered a contract in the $300,000 range but feels he can have a better year his senior season. He then snubs the drafting team, has an All-American year, reapplies for the draft as a senior and is picked third.
With a better year under his belt and a much higher draft choice, he is now in the driver's seat. The tables are turned in favor of the players. The NFL owners would never allow it.
Also, a free-for-all draft would just entice underclassmen with questionable ability to turn pro. The current system might not be the best, but it is not broken enough to need fixing.
MICHAEL W. BOKAN, La Jolla