Good day, folks. As of this morning, we’re now one week and change away from the beginning of the 2017 edition of the Player Selection Meeting. Months of mock drafting and snarky brigading will shortly come to an end, replaced instead with either calls to “FIRE LYNCH!”, fawning over our shiny new toys, or something in the between.
Until then, we’ve got one more week to lose sleep over decisions wholly out of our control and get on each others’ nerves by besmirching the good names of favorite prospects. With that being said, it may be callous of me to suggest considering how recently the news broke of former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez’s demise, but this may be the catalyst that helps revive a largely stagnating debate on off-field issues, and the impact on what is already considered a gamble.
Naturally, a conviction for murder is perhaps as serious as it gets, but the bottom line remains that a player who is either suspended or in jail, will not be producing results. However, it seems that a certain threshold of talent may exist where an organization decides that the risk of losing that particular asset due to disciplinary reasons may be outweighed by the possible rewards. Perhaps the most glaring example of this concept in the 2017 draft is RB Joe Mixon - he’s on tape beating a woman up, and many organizations are rumored to have dropped him off of their board entirely. However, articles still pop up weekly in which some anonymous executive or scout waxes poetic about how skilled Mixon is, how he might be a better pure talent than Fournette, and so on. I see enough mock drafts slipping him into the second round, a wink wink nudge nudge slap on the wrist for the walking red flag, “Now see, you dropped to the second round you bad boy, I bet you won’t do that again”.
If this were to actually occur, it would send a message that enough talent can drop you only as far as a torn ACL, in the case of Tank Carradine. “First round talent, sure. But he’s got a bum knee/beat some lady on film. Too risky for the first, grab him in the second and fire up the PR machine”. Despite Lynch making a direct statement that the release of CB Tramaine Brock (after his arrest for alleged domestic violence) was not meant to be a message, I’ve got to wonder if there’s any real validity to that statement.
Ray Rice was a monster. On the stat sheet, and in the elevator. He never played again. Greg Hardy was a (sea) monster. He was recently turned down from an arena football team (or something, but it seemed like a “most of our team owners made their money in the used car business” type league). Now, a once promising player, who formed what could have been the most impressive TE duo of all time, was found hanging in his jail cell. I didn’t plan to pontificate on this somewhat sensitive matter, but I’ve got to wonder if today’s news has lit a fire in some GMs, to really consider the risk involved with these draft picks.
While failed drug tests are at least a tier less important than domestic violence or murder, the NFL has seen a rash of talented, and highly drafted, players throw promising careers away. Aldon Smith. Justin Blackmon. Josh Gordon. These are just some of the huge names - yet they remain indefinitely suspended but still officially part of rosters. At what point does the GM (and sports writers, and fans, especially) equate that “a little bit of pot, cmoooon buddy who didn’t smoke the reefer in college?” with “we will likely never see these players complete another down in the NFL. Or CFL, because the NFL will block their eligibility”? Aaron Hernandez killed a guy. In 2014 we knew we’d never see him play an NFL down again. Greg Hardy and Ray Rice and Junior Galette (OH WAIT HE STILL HAS A JOB) will probably never play again. What separates these outcomes from “a little bit of pot, and some drunk driving”?
Maybe this is the year we don’t see a Frank Clark get drafted highly.
Onto the Nuggets.
(Slideshow) 7 prospects 49ers might consider in the 1st round | Maiocco, CSN Bay Area
Looking forward to Thursday’s schedule release | Becker, Mercury
Gruden sees Trubisky as fit for 49ers | Inman, Mercury
S/LB Peppers, RB Fournette visit 49ers | Barrows, Sac Bee
Updated draft prospect visit tracker | Barrows, Sac Bee
Cosell: Foster worth the second pick | Jones, KNBR
Kiper sees DE Solomon Thomas as fit for 49ers at second pick | Wagoner, ESPN
49ers need a big CB in this draft | Wagoner, ESPN