Tag Archive | "2014 NFL Draft"

Character Concerns in the NFL Draft – Fair or Unfair?

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It’s that time of year again.  The weather is turning, plants are blooming, and the allergies are coming.  The National Football League Draft is upon us as well.  Just as the flowers bloom every year, the questions regarding high draft prospects character come into play.


Teams are going to pay top picks a lot of money and, like any other business organization, they want to make sure they are spending their money wisely on not only talented players but also quality citizens.


There is nothing wrong with the due diligence of looking into these players’ personalities.  The problem is this:  when teams get caught up in the hype of character, do they start applying any issue a prospect might have to concerns over character that may be unreasonable?


Of course, with this draft the conversation begins with Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney.  These two are at the top of most if not all draft boards and off-the-field questions about each are as high as their projected draft spots.


Questions whether or not Manziel can translate his game to the NFL are fair.  Manziel is right around six feet tall and his running ability could cause him to take a pounding in the big leagues.


Manziel’s character concerns are another issue.  Many questions come from the ‘scandal’ following his autograph signing of memorabilia.  It is utterly unfair to judge Manziel’s character based off this situation.


The rule by the NCAA that athletes cannot profit from signing their own name is not only ridiculous, it’s Un-American.  Someone’s name and what they choose to do with it are one of those inalienable rights discussed in The Declaration of Independence.  From the moment one is born to the moment they take their last breath, the only constant possession one will have is his name.


Yes, Manziel does have other issues that come up in his past – oversleeping at the Manning Quarterback Camp and underage drinking.  Should Manziel have done these things – no.  But, we are talking about a college kid here.  He is far from the first and far from the last to oversleep in college or drink.


Now, onto Jadeveon Clowney.  There is little doubt that Clowney’s game will translate to the NFL.  As with Manziel, there are questions regarding Clowney’s character off the field, and there is a big problem with it.


Most questions regarding Clowney revolve around his work ethic.  There is no question Clowney did not give his all last season at South Carolina.  The reasons why, however, should be condoned.


Clowney finished the 2012 College Season as a projected top five pick minimum.  Some experts projected Clowney as a top pick.  Clowney, however, could not enter the draft based on the age restriction, which is also Un-American and had a choice to play the season at South Carolina without getting paid or sit out the season and just prepare himself for the draft.


Clowney comes from a poor background and the potential money waiting for him in the NFL was on the line for Clowney entering his last season at South Carolina.  Yes, Clowney did not give his all likely to minimize the risk of injury.  But, had Clowney suffered a career ending injury in college, he would almost certainly never make the life changing millions he would have made in the NFL.  Would every General Manager and scout who questions Clowney’s work ethic pay him millions of dollars if he couldn’t play in the NFL?  Of course not, Jadeveon Clowney has to look out for himself with that kind of money on the line.


Another option for Clowney would have been to sit out the season.  What do people think the reaction to that would have been?  Clowney would be facing the same if not harsher criticism for his work ethic.  Clowney was in a no win situation and decided to look after his own future.  There is nothing wrong with that.


Instead of questioning the character of these players, why not question the ridiculousness of the rules that, in the case of Manziel, were broken and, in Clowney’s case, put him in a no win situation.  The rules that do not permit an adult to profit off his own name or to come into the league and start earning a living for himself are unquestionably Un-American.  And, to hold these rules against these guys is ridiculous.


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