2012 NFL Draft: Issues with Character Issues

Janoris Jenkins could have learned a thing or two from Tim Tebow. SEOSEOSEO

Everyone's favorite blanket cliche is back and, as always, stirring the pot with reckless abandon to the nth degree (triple cliche score!).

I'm a big fan of Matt Miller, the founder of New Era Scouting and Bleacher Report's Senior NFL Draft Lead Writer. Like any draft analyst I respect, he digs into tape and comes up with his own opinions. He's sincere and forthright. And I forgive him for not like Tebow (TEEEEEEEEEEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW).

But I have a problem with his piece on "character concerns" from this morning, and the conclusion he drives the piece to. Thoughts on "character issues/concerns" in general and as they relate to Alshon Jeffery, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Janoris Jenkins after the jump.

So the root of this problem is that it lumps distinguishable values or situations together with a tenuous similarity. And that's it, really.

Consider this. Prospect A broke a finger his freshman year. Prospect B has leukemia. Obviously, their situations are different. But would you just throw red flag on them citing "medical concerns"? That's just lazy.

Now that's not what Matt was doing with his piece. He was just noting that Alshon Jeffery, who in my mind is being appropriately questioned for playing out of shape last year, is being talked up while other prospects with past incidents are having their transgressions overlooked.

You can't just lump them all in together though. Jeffery's weight has direct impact on the quality of his football playing capacity. Most "character issues" or negative intangible references are indirectly relevant.

Take Janoris Jenkins. A standout cornerback early in his career at Florida, he was arrested twice for marijuana possession and failed a drug test. He also ate some taser pie after a bar fight spilled out into the street. And he's got four kids from three different women. Obviously, he didn't take after Tim Tebow in the 2008 and 2009 seasons when they were both Florida Gators.

But what is the correlation between fathering children with multiple women and football? And what about drugs? If you're telling me that philandering and drugs mean a player is certain to bust as a pro, I'd remind you that Lawrence Taylor and Michael Irvin liked ladies and coke. They were also incredible football players with incredible work habits.

With Blackmon and Floyd, the epicenter of their character concern earthquake is drinking and driving. And it gets touchy here, as it's a subject that will never find people to defend. But consider the discrepancy between those two prospects' histories with the issue.

Floyd was cited for underage consumption in 2009. He repeated the offense in 2010 when police arrived at the scene of a fight. And in March of last year, he was arrested for a DUI at Notre Dame with a BAC of 0.19. Indiana law sets the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle at a blood alcohol content of 0.08.

Blackmon's incident occurred in October of 2010. Returning to Oklahoma after attending the Cowboys-Giants Monday Night Football game, Blackmon was arrested after hauling up I-35 at 92 mph. The speed limit was 60 mph. More important was that Blackmon, who was under 21 at the time had been drinking at the game. But what makes his situation different was that had he been 21, he wouldn't have been arrested on DUI charges. His BAC was below Texas' legal level, 0.25 BAC...ok, no we're not that sloppy. Texas, like Indiana, limits drivers to a BAC of 0.08 or less.

You can't excuse either. Drinking and driving is dangerous and often fatal, though legal as long as you're below the state law's allowable BAC. But can't we agree that there's a difference between the two situations?

Three citations are different than one. Driving at double the legal limit is different than driving below the legal limit. Smoking weed and makin babies (fun!) is different than drinking and driving. Being out of shape is different than recreational drug use, legal or not.

Throwing these all under a single catchphrase isn't useful. It dilutes the skill of qualified scouts/analysts/writers/haberdashers. In any case, I look forward to the day when we can tear "character concerns" and "character issues" out of our lexicon.

Because as they say, after the rain comes a rainbow.

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