2012 NFL Draft: Impact of "Character Issues" on What Teams Do


Over the last couple of days we have posted two of our three part Atlanta Falcons draft roundtable discussion. We discussed the Falcons draft strategy and we also talked about the one player that each of us wanted the Falcons to draft more than anybody else. For the last topic of our roundtable we discuss character issues.

QUESTION: Should we take a chance on a draft pick with character issues if he falls in the draft?

Editor Note: This roundtable question was answered prior to the Falcons trading for Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel and also prior to the news of Jayron Hosley and Vontaze Burfict's drug tests becoming public knowledge.

Eric (@GentlemanMashr): Absolutely. I have one player in mind - Vontaze Burfict. Right now - most are saying he could fall all the way to the 5th, or even 7th round. Considering this administration's lackluster history of finding any gold in past the first 3 rounds, I don't see why you wouldn't take a risk on a wild card like Burfict. He plays angry, and will come in with a big chip on his shoulder for falling so far. Plus - he'll arrive at a camp where his preferred position of MLB is more or less up for grabs. If he produces, you have a potential All-Pro at MLB who will finally give this defense a personality and mean streak. if he doesn't produce - you cut him - just like you did William Middleton, Wilrey Fontenot, or any other late round pick who didn't make the grade.

Without a first round pick, though - I don't think I'd go with player with character issues until the 3rd Day.

Matt (@mFalcons5): I think not.  Dimitroff does not like to chance his players on their off-field problems; I believe he has taken zero players with arrest records.  I have only known Dimitroff to take chances on those with injury concerns, not those with character concerns.

Mike (@ColossalChicken): I say take a chance, character issues don’t really concern me from a football standpoint. I am more concerned if a player takes plays off, than lighting up a joint. I would absolutely draft Janoris Jenkins if he slips... in my opinion, he is the best cover corner in the draft. If you have doubts watch his tape against Julio Jones and AJ Green in college…elite talent. Antonio Cromartie is a great NFL corner and cannot even remember all of his children’s names, I don’t judge him for it…it isn’t my business, as a fan I want production. Arthur Blank is tired of losing in January; he will impose himself like last year with Julio.

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Kevin (@CFBZ): You can't play the game of football with all choir boys. I'm not a huge Michael Irvin guy but that quote is money. We have enough choir boys on the team and it would be nice to get some guys with a mean, nasty streak in them. I believe we have enough "good" guys in the locker room that will counteract any "bad seeds" that we have on the team. If a guy that fits our scheme and will make us better then we should absolutely sign him. Where I would draw the line is a player that has recently (over the last three months) failed a drug test. I think failing a drug test at this point just shows stupidity and a player like that is just going to let his team down in the long run.

We can't count on a guy who is going to take drugs prior to the NFL draft because down the road in his career he's going to end up serving a drug suspension when the team needs him. One guy in particular that I wouldn't mind seeing the Falcons take a flier on late in the draft, that has had his personal ups and downs in college, is former Tennessee Vol turned McNeese State Cowboy safety Janzen Jackson.

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