Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Smile, You're Draft Stock Has Just Been Whammied!

We are just a few measly days away from NFL Christmas where every team gets to open up their presents and see which new players will turn around the franchise or send it down in flames.

For the
past months, potential draft picks have been subjected to ridiculous amounts of testing, prodding, poking, and performance. It's much like stories I've heard about sorority hazing in college sans the tears. Scouts will mark a prospect down if his hands aren't big enough, he has allergies, he tends to like candy apples....any peccadillo will get a big red "X".

And they will definitely mark a prospect down if he fails a drug test. No other bit of information can send a high end prospect tumbling i
n the draft (just ask Warren Sapp about that.)

So what happens when reporters are wrong about failed tests? Most legit news sources tend to fact check their sources before going public (with the exception of ESPN who tends to put being first ahead of petty things like being correct), but bloggers don't have to follow that lead.

Obviously if a blogger is wrong too often, they lose all credibility, but tell that to B.J. Raji who was a sure-fire top 10 pick before he allegedly failed a drug test. And when a site called the NFL Bible drops a news hit, people tend to listen. Raji maintains his innocence, but we've heard that before. Every player denies wrong doing until they are caught red-handed. It's like a big game to them.

Probl
em is that Raji is telling the truth. He didn't fail a drug test. Neither did Brian Cushing or Vontae Davis. The NFL Bible has removed the accusations from the website and has issued an apology. The drug allegations shouldn't affect the draft stock of the players. This year.

But what if the NFL Bible didn't come out and admit wrong doing? What if a blogger was a big Redskins fan who wanted Raji to fall to their team at pick 13? Hell, what if a member of a coaching staff decided to just throw some anonymous information out on the web to see if they could get a player they wanted to fall?

Teams are investing millions of dollars in these players and the last thing the team wants is a bust of a pick. All officials need is a hint that there could be a future problem and they will pass on a pick they might have made otherwise.

It's a dangerous environment for these players to conduct job interviews. Warren Sapp would probably agree and I'll believe him. Because he's cocaine free since at least 1994!


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