North Alabama, by way of Florida, cornerback Janoris Jenkins has become the poster child for character concerns in this year's draft. It happens every year. One incredibly talented player brings a college track record that scare the hell out of front offices and the media.
More so than the budding family he developed with four different ladies and the child support payments his extracurricular activities are likely to require, the one issue people can't stop talking about with Jenkins is his marijuana usage.
Because no college kid in his twenties ever smokes weed. Never. People can play Carrie Nation all they want; I still think Jenkins is a guy who can make it in the NFL under the right circumstances, the right coaches to keep him on the straight and narrow.
My marijuana rant after the jump.
Every year good players get overlooked because of marijuana usage in their past. Usually, you need to think about the larger context of things in relation to the dope smoking. Most guys are just partying and being young and stupid. Ricky Williams actually used it to cope with anxiety.
Are there bigger problems associate with their weed smoking? That's where a team willing to dig deep can be rewarded with a draft day bargain.
Percy Harvin, Randy Moss and Warren Sapp are classic examples of players who were devalued on draft day because of some 420 in their past. If you really want to go deeper, Vikings' fourth-round pick Christian Ballard showed real potential in a limited role last season.
It's probably best to be a little more discerning about their usage in college and the pros. The bottom line is that kids party and that more than one college athlete has been made to feel invincible while on campus. Marijuana is, after all, illegal in some states, though that seems to be changing fast and furious as state seek out new ways of collecting easy revenue.
The latest concerns about Jenkins could well have been leaked by a team trying to game the draft order. Putting this information out there is more than likely to scare few teams off Jenkins, causing him to slide down draft boards and be there for the plucking.
If he falls into the second round, it would be hard for the Rams to pass on him, especially given Fisher's tolerance for players that have those off-field red flags.
I'd say at some point the NFL needs to lighten its stance on marijuana usage, especially now that so many states have opened up routes for medical usage or all out decriminalization. That won't happen. It still has the power to turn off broad segments of the fan base as well as an electorate that allows the league a free pass on monopoly issues.