It’s a formula that will absolutely destroy not only a prospect going into the NFL Draft, but even current players in the league right now.
Failed drug tests have become more and more commons as each year of the NFL Scouting Combine rolls on.
Some will say that it’s due to the time and day we’re living in currently or that teams leak those results so it will drop a player they value closer to their range.
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Early first round picks now become late first rounders or even slip to the second rounds.
In 1995 former University of Miami defensive tackle Warren Sapp was projected to go within the first five picks of that draft.
But a leaked report the night before the draft said he failed multiple drug tests due to marijuana and cocaine, dropping his stock and he fell all the way to the 12th overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Attitude can kill a players hopes of going high in the draft as well or even be career killers as well.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was projected to be a Top 4 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by analyst Mel Kiper but slid all the way to the San Francisco 49ers at #10.
Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Coming out of Texas Tech, Crabtree was considered talented but had a somewhat of a diva complex and it was visible on national T.V. as he slid down the board.
Crabtree famously had Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders as his “counselor” and was the final rookie contract holdout after he threatened to sit out the entire season and re-enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Following an up and down career with the 49ers, Crabtree hit free agency this season and didn’t find the market he was looking for which many said was due to his self entitled attitude although he denied it.
Crabtree languished in free agency until April 13th when he signed with the Oakland Raiders on a mere 1-year, $3 million dollar contract.
Heading into the draft this year, the Saints are taking copious notes on not only physical measurements, but mental ones as well.
Big Easy Believer’s editor Barry Hirstius’ recent article on players whom he would and wouldn’t take a chance on represent the minefield teams like the Saints and others have to walk through.
Players like pass rusher Randy Gregory, cornerback Marcus Peters, and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham present the ultimate “Talent vs. Risk” challenge.
On Friday it was announced that another first round talent, cornerback Jalen Collins, had failed multiple drug test while he was in college possibly dropping his draft status.
Collins, along with Gregory and Peters, have been given some major interest by the Saints with both Gregory and Peters being hosted by the Saints for a pre-draft visit with good reason…homework.
Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nebraska defensive lineman Randy Gregory talks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Gregory, thought to be a sure Top 10 pick at least, failed the drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine because of marijuana.
I refuse to get into the debate on if marijuana should be legal or not or if it’s right or wrong because the simple fact is this: If it’s against the law or you’re going to be tested for it then don’t do it!
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Gregory has become the “popular” pick at #13 for the Saints in mock drafts due to not only his draft status slipping, but the Saints needing a pass rusher like him.
Even WWL 870 AM draft analyst Mike Detillier has mentioned that it would be hard to pass on Gregory due to his talent and impact he could have on defense.
Although I agree with Detillier that young men make mistakes, it’s when you make them and the circumstances surrounding them.
Peters was said to have disciplinary problems and argued with the coaching staff before being let go by Washington State.
If reports are correct, Peters is said to have matured and learned from this experience moving forward…that I have zero problem with.
But when it comes to a player like Gregory and you consume a substance that you know 100% in advance you’re being tested for…that I do have a problem with.
It would say to me as a head coach that you know there is a set of rules I have in place no matter how minor or major and you chose to break that rule.
Gregory admitted in a report that he has struggled with marijuana in the past but now it’s not because he’s “focused on his dream”.
That also would ring warning bells because the dream of being in the NFL should be a life-long one and not one that suddenly appears overnight.
It would worry me even further as a head coach thinking that if a player like Gregory wasn’t happy, or getting the snaps on defense he thinks he should have, or his season wasn’t going well, would temptation rear it’s ugly head?
Draft analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com also tweeted out yesterday concerning an issue with another prospect the Saints showed interest in, University of Miami tight end Clive Walford.
Walford met with the Saints at his Pro Day and with the need to add another tight end, he could be someone they are looking at on Day 2 of the draft.
Nov 22, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Miami Hurricanes tight end Clive Walford (46) runs with the ball as Virginia Cavaliers safety Anthony Harris (8) chases in the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. The Cavaliers won 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
There is no way around it that Walford is talented, but if Zierlein’s report is accurate then the Saints may pass on him due to his attitude.
I’ve jokingly said following this past season that the Saints need some ruthless rule breakers mainly on the defense after appearing to look so timid.
But in reality, what the Saints need is that change that head coach Sean Payton is trying to bring back to the team and it begins with the mentality of “team first, self last”.
The actions of one player not only jeopardize their career or season, but the team as well.
Payton is well known for having attention to detail and what I like to refer to as a “hive mindset”…everybody thinking and flowing in one direction.
We all saw that in huge fashion during the 2009 season for the Saints and Payton will even admit that the team got away from that the past few years.
Fans even said that this didn’t even seem to be the team that they knew who always finished strong and were blue collar players on and off the field.
A while back I mentioned how the Saints are following the formula for success moving towards the 2015 season.
Part of that will be seeing the warning signs of players who make off the field temptations and poor attitude part of the equation…..