In light of the NFL Scouting Combine that is fast approaching, I thought it would be fitting to re-post a few articles, that pertain to it. Up first is an article that I wrote back in early January. It discusses character in regards to the NFL and college players who are entering the NFL Draft.
“Character, we don’t need no stinkn’ character”. Oh yes you do. One of the growing trends in the NFL is character receiving a greater emphasis and being placed above or equal to a players talents. During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, players could get away with murder and not bare any consequences. Now, players are flagged for excessive celebrations, fined for crossing the morale line, and suspended for any missteps that happen off the field. Since Commissioner, Roger Goodell took place in office, he has done a superb job of holding players (not named Bret Farve), and teams accountable. I don’t agree with everything he’s done so far (I for one enjoy touchdown celebrations, but I do applaud him for trying to clean up a game that had become riddled with filth.
NCAA players looking to join the elite in the NFL need to get with the program and clean up their act as well. No longer will teams tolerate misbehavior. No matter how talented you are, some teams will pass on you in the draft, and you will in turn lose a few million dollars because of it. Recent history gives us proof of this. In 2010, Dez Bryant entered the draft with the stigma of being a diva and having a few off the field problems. His talent was top 5, but where was he selected, 24th to the Dallas Cowboys. Another example of teams looking towards quality character guys is the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. In the 2010 draft, out of the seven players the Chiefs drafted, six of them were team captains. The Falcons took a similar stance and drafted four team captains.
This year, there are some highly touted prospects in the draft, that have some baggage. A huge chunk of the North Carolina team was suspended due to violating team and NCAA rules. Boise State speedster, Titus Young has been suspended numerous times for his off the field issues and flagged for excessive celebrations. Iowa defensive end, Adrian Clayborn pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 2010 and was originally charged with assault after punching a cab driver. At seasons end, Pittsburgh receiver, Jonathan Baldwin recently threw his quarterback and coaches under the bus, in a rant about how he wont be back for his senior season. He was also arrested and charged with misdemeanor indecent assault, summary harassment and summary disorderly conduct. The list goes on and on.
All I can say to these players and the ones not mentioned is, good luck with your background checks and pre-draft interviews. To the college players not eligible for the 2010 draft, learn from others mistakes and keep on a straightened arrow. Millions of dollars are at stake. To the teams of the NFL, thank you for finally setting an example for the public, and showing them that character does matter.