In just under 24 hours, hundreds of NFL prospects will begin possibly the biggest day of their young lives: the draft.
They have an opportunity unlike many of us. Live out their dreams, become famous and stuff their pockets with much more money than needed.
Take it from me, the un-athletic college senior graduating with 10’s of thousands of dollars in debt.
Don’t screw it up.
Seems simple right? Don’t do drugs. Don’t beat women. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re accused of rape.
Those are standards for all citizens to uphold, not just athletes, but when you have millions of dollars on the line, it gives a little more incentive.
Well, so far in this year’s draft, three players have already failed those simplest of guidelines.
In the past month before today’s draft, two players, Alabama’s Rueben Foster and Michigan’s Jabril Peppers, had “diluted” samples at the combine.
Both players claim there wasn’t any foul play or tampering involved, but still, it’s not a great spot to put yourself in with teams evaluating your every move.
But they aren’t the only ones putting their draft stock in harm’s way. Two more potential first-rounders have seen their stock drop by putting themselves in a bad spot.
Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, a projected early round selection, was accused of punching a woman, resulting in a misdemeanor battery charge.
The accuser’s attorney told the Tampa Bay Times that she was knocked to the ground and suffered injuries that require “extensive medical treatment.”
Brantley has maintained his innocence throughout the process, but most teams will not look twice even so.
As Brantley’s stock gets murky, another high-profile pick, Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, is seeing his stock plummet.
Conley was accused of raping a woman in her Cleveland hotel room earlier this month, according to ESPN.
Again, just an accusation, but nonetheless, it’s detrimental to his draft stock, and for that, the blame can only fall on him.
It seems to happen every year. A high-profile player makes a dumb move just prior to the draft and, because of it, millions of dollars are lost.
Last year, for example, Mississippi’s Laremy Tunsil was positioned to be a prized top-five pick. But on draft night, a video was leaked of Tunsil smoking weed using a gas mask, causing his stock to drop.
Tunsil fell just five to 10 spots to the Miami Dolphins, but that resulted in nearly $10 million lost.
It’s pretty simple.
It really shouldn’t take millions of dollars to get athletes to act the right way, but it should at least give them a smidge of incentive to behave for a few months.
For the athletes who are doing it, great.
For those who can’t, I, along with millions of others, would gladly take your place.