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Childs leaves, Wilson stays: Which matters more?

The pain of losing Jeremy Childs to the NFL was like getting a papercut from our favorite magazine, and the healing salve of Kyle Wilson returning for his senior season was like applying a SpongeBob band-aid to the wound.

We're all better now.

Childs' departure hurt momentarily, much like the news - however inevitable and obvious it was - of Ryan Clady and Orlando Scandrick's departures last season. We simply cannot imagine why anyone would want to leave Boise State any sooner than they had to. There's a Carl's Jr. within walking distance, for crying out loud! We probably don't understand because we have never been offered millions of dollars before.

Childs' decision is fine by us. Kyle Wilson's decision is even more fine. If you had asked us a month ago who stood a better chance of jumping ship to the NFL Draft, we would have said Wilson without a doubt in our minds. The cornerback's talent just seemed to translate better to the NFL style of play.

So with the reverse actually happening, we are pleased as punch. And taking into account the Broncos' depth, talent, and skill at both Wilson and Childs' positions, next year's Boise State team should be happy, too.

What we're missing

Any discussion of Childs' departure would not be complete without recognizing what the junior receiver will be taking with him when he waits in the Boise State Student Union building to hear his name called on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

  • 168 catches, 1,999 yards

  • 10-yard curl routes

  • Leaping catches over Oregon defenders

  • Possible suspensions for team rules violations

Childs was beyond good at Boise State, and his impact on the offense will truly be missed.

But by the same token, Wilson's talent would have looked just as irreplaceable. Shut-down corners like Wilson don't come around every season (although Brandyn Thompson sure did do a good job filling in for Scandrick). Taking away a cog to an offensive machine is one thing; removing an entire side of the secondary is another. Part of Boise State's defensive success is predicated on the notion that the cornerbacks can play man-to-man coverage with little to no safety help. The offense's success is based on Kellen Moore being superhuman. As such, Wilson's role on the team carries a little more weight.

Plus, don't forget that Wilson is integral to the punt return game, and he's one of the best returners in the country. Clearly, Wilson impacts the game in more ways than Childs did.

The replacements

With much respect for what Childs brought to the team, his production will most likely be replaced by one of a number of candidates.

For starters, there's Austin Pettis who was fast becoming a budding star by season's end. He'll be the new go-to guy on the Bronco offense, but his going-to will look different than Childs' did. Dig routes, jump balls, and slants will take the place of curl routes. Fine by us.

Along with Pettis, Boise State gets Titus Young back to give the offensive a burst (remember, he and Kellen Moore had quite the chemistry during last year's fall practice). And if that's not enough, Kellen's brother Kirby - one of the best high schol receivers of all time - will be attending school in the fall. Add Tyler Shoemaker, Chris Potter, Mitch Burroughs, and some more new recruits, and you have yourself many options to choose from.

The biggest hurdle for these new players will be learning how to gain separation from defensive backs and how to run precise routes, like Childs was so good at doing. We already assume that the newbies can catch whatever is thrown at them (Kyle Efaw, notwithstanding).

Kyle Wilson's replacements would have been quite a bit more lean. Brandyn Thompson can hold down his side of the field just fine, and Jamar Taylor showed a lot of promise during his true freshman season in 2008. The major impact would be the depth behind those players.

Apart from Wilson and Thompson, every other CB on the roster was a freshman last season. Sophomore CB Keith McGowen was dismissed from the team, leaving only Travis Stanaway and Cedric Febis as defensive backs with much experience. The new crop of receivers won't have much experience, either, but their job is made easier by the presence of Moore. Fresh meat defensive backs don't have that luxury.

The big picture

One aspect of Childs' decision that some people might miss is how it will impact future Bronco receivers and their NFL aspirations. If Childs finds success after leaving school early, it could open the door for a rush of Broncos to follow in his footsteps.

Pettis seems like a candidate to jump if he has another fine season. Titus Young could consider it, too, when you think about his raw skill and trouble with the team. And to really get speculating, the option of going pro might look pretty good to Kirby Moore when Kellen graduates after Kirby's junior year.

On the flip side, Wilson's staying and being successful could pave the way for more Broncos to stay in school. Ian Johnson made a similar decision last year, but he didn't exactly improve his stock with a stellar senior season. Wilson has a chance to do what Johnson didn't.

Losing either Childs or Wilson would have made an impact on the 2009 Boise State season, but when you look at the specifics, Wilson's coming back for his senior season is really the bigger difference-maker.

Now who's ready to start wondering if Kellen Moore will turn pro next year? We're not.

Read more: Childs heads to NFL, Wilson returns [Press-Tribune]