Just Say No– Why Draft Prospects are Morons for Testing Positive
News broke today surrounding the status of former Ohio State left tackle and current draft prospect Mike Adams. Apparently, Adams tested positive for marijuana during the NFL Draft Combine this past February. Adams is the latest prospect to test positive for the illegal substance, it’s one that should have been avoided at all costs.
Adams is the third potential 1st round pick to have been involved with the illegal substance. Former Alabama Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested on minor possession, and former Florida Gator and North Alabama cornerback admitted that he continued to smoke marijuana even after being kicked out of Florida in early 2011.
While in the past these would be deterrents to draft prospects, modern GM’s including Martin Mayhew of the Detroit Lions don’t view these issues as problems, “If you go back 10, 15 years ago, and a guy had a positive test, that was a big deal. That was something to be very concerned about.” Maybe this explains why the Lions have had two players from their 2011 draft class be involved in marijuana.
While Mayhew wants the draft the best player, I don’t agree with this tactic. What’s the point of drafting someone if they’re going to cause trouble once they’re in the league. Roger Goodell has taken a hard stance against drug use and a player who has a problem now isn’t likely to stop.
In Adam’s case, the admission of guilt hasn’t likely affected his draft stock. He did the smart thing; he owned up and confessed to teams, then took the proper percaussions and attended a counseling program. However, in the case of someone like Jenkins, we should expect a steep slide.
Taking into account the potential problem of Jenkins and how GM’s will view him come draft day, I elected to have him slide out of the first two rounds. While he would still earn a large contract if drafted somewhere after the 2nd round, Jenkins is largely viewed as being the 2nd best corner back prospect but his draft placement is severely affected by his behavior. Jenkins isn’t the only one, we can look to past players for similar situations.
ESPN recently ran a great story about the problems in college with drug testing, and in a related article Sam Alipour points out that the football giant University of Oregon has had a longstanding problem with the sticky icky. In the piece, former Duck running backs Reuben Droughns and Onterrio Smith admitted to using the substance while in Eugene, and problem which now faces current prospects and former ducks Cliff Harris and Darron Thomas (who both will probably go later rounds, Thomas will be lucky to get drafted).
In 2005, four prospects tested positive for marijuana, and it severely affected the draft placements of all four. Wisconsin defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne slid all the way to the tail end of the 6th round, while Clemson’s Eric Coleman, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Clinkscale and Atcheson Conway all went undrafted and never made the league. I can go on and on, with multiple drafts and multiple prospects but that would be extreme.
Those may be extreme circumstances, but in this writer’s opinion definitely avoidable. Prospects know that they will be tested and yet they think they are above the law. Testing positive will weed will do nothing but hurt your draft position. In the end, it could cost you millions of dollars depending on how many rounds you slide. In some cases, it could cause you to go undrafted. For Adams, Jenkins and Kirkpatrick (who’s charges were eventually dropped), we will truly see how much getting high will cost.