For Nick Fairley, it was a foregone conclusion he would head to the NFL since there is a good chance he could be the number one pick (Since Andrew Luck decided to stay for another year). This was a great decision by Fairley because even if he doesn't go first, the money in the first round is still incredible and you can never turn that down. He had a breakout year this season and I think he is well deserving of a great NFL career, and I think he will have one.
Then there is Cam. Cam Newton was by the far the most outstanding player in College Football this year, and his record as a starter showed. He never lost a game in an AU uniform, and even though he didn't do everything, he still did a lot. His decision to go to the NFL in my opinion was one that I don't get, but I can understand at the same time. I think he still needs a lot of work in his passing game and another year under Gus Malzahn could help him become a first year starter. Instead, I think he will get drafted by a team that has patience and will let him work on his game for a few years, and then give him a shot. But I can also see why he would want to leave College Football. As long as he plays at Auburn, there will be constant chatter about his father's actions and how it should impact Cam and Auburn. A lot of it is inaccurate information but that doesn't stop people writing it.
Cam will always be an Auburn legend and may be the best one and done college player of all time. How he impacted this Auburn team, and the leadership as well as his physical tools is beyond remarkable. To be a Pro Quarterback you need to have the tools, and the right mindset. Cam will soon have both, he holds all the leadership qualities that NFL franchises love and he obviously has the dimensions of an NFL quarterback (although his mechanics will be tweaked).
Can I just say it one more time?
Finally, we have Darvin "Smoove" Adams. There was a period of confusion in his decision since the deadline had passed, and since no information came out we "assumed" that he decided to stay. But, we were wrong in the end. Came out just recently he did indeed make the jump and I have mixed feelings over this one but only one conclusion. Darvin Adams was one of the SEC's underrated players, and apart from Cam he was Auburn's most dangerous weapon. He always had reliable hands and made a name for himself last season coming just short of 1,000 receiving yards.
From a technical point of view, it was a poor decision for him. Guys like Julio Jones and AJ Green will be the first receivers taken and Darvin may find it hard to sneak into the first three rounds. He is no doubt a great player, but you need to evaluate your draft competition as well. If he stayed another year his main national competition would be Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery. Both are great talents, but then again so is Smoove.
From a family point of view, I think he made the right decision. Adams does have two children that need support and if he can manage to get drafted he will be able to support them. This is my overall conclusion, as to why I think this was a great decision for Smoove. He obviously feels the need to make this leap and I will back him the entire way. He has done so much for Auburn, and he stepped up for us in 2009 when we didn't have a clear number one receiver. He was a reliable weapon through his tenure, and will prove to be a decent weapon for any professional team that wants to take a chance with him.
His size may be an issue, but he has been at Auburn for three years. If he was going to gain more weight he would have done it already. Doing so could affect his game, which is why he may have held off gaining more muscle.
In the end, I think all three made the best decisions. It will be hard for fans to grasp them leaving because of what they have helped Auburn achieved this season and they have become legends because of it. I think you will see new guys step up next season in the unfilled positions, but that is the excitement of the situation. Yes its sad watching great players leave, but you get the tingly feeling over what younger guys may step up into new roles in the near future.