The NFL Draft is the ultimate reality show. No draft in recent memory could better live up to that mantra than this years offering. From elite prospects like Laremy Tunsil having his Twitter account hacked, causing him to fall to pick 13. Or players like Safety Karl Joseph of West Virginia, making a major leap to the 14th pick of the Oakland Raiders, when pre-draft reports had him going in the late first or early second round. The 2016 NFL Draft had it all. One of the most intriguing aspects was the fall of UCLA linebacker Myles Jack after concerns about his knee began to spread through draft boards of all 32 teams earlier this week.
Coming into the draft, Jack was considered a lock to go in the top five. Unfortunately things didn’t turn out that way. He had to wait until the early second round to hear his name called by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 36th pick in the draft. In Jacks’ case, the concerns were valid. There’s a very real possibility that he’ll require Microfracture surgery in a few years. As such teams shied away from him in the first round. You feel for Jack as this issue is totally out of his control, something that can’t be said for other prospects.
Ole Miss Defensive Tackle Robert Nkemdiche was one of the most polarizing prospects up for grabs this year. His immense talent is undeniable, but red flags were raised after Nkemdiche was suspended the night prior to Ole Miss’ bowl game. Nkemdiche allegedly fell out of a hotel window after drinking, and was later charged with possession of marijuana when authorities found joints in his hotel room.
Luckily for Nkemdiche, the Arizona Cardinals took the risk and selected him with the 29th pick. Cardinals Head Coach, Bruce Arians, is no stranger to taking risks on players that are flagged for character concerns but possess elite talent. Tyrann Mathieu was one of those players. In the 2013 NFL Draft, teams overlooked him for similar off the field issues with marijuana, causing him to fall to the 3rd round. Fast-forward to 2016, Mathieu is one of the key pieces to the Cardinals defense, and erased any doubt about his character.
Whether it’s Tunsil getting caught smoking marijuana through a gas mask, or elite talent like Myles Jack falling to the second round due to injury, this year’s NFL Draft has certainly been one to remember. There is no exact science to picking an NFL player, but the NFL coaches weigh on and off the field traits to help make the best possible decision, and this year they had their work cut out for them.
Follow Jake Przytarski @Jake_Przytarski
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