Minutes before the 2016 NFL Draft began, an unknown person posted a video to Laremy Tunsil’s verified Twitter account of the prospect wearing a gas mask and smoking out of a bong. Tunsil, who was originally believed to be a top-five pick, fell to the Miami Dolphins at the 13th overall pick. Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, who drafted Tunsil’s college teammate Laquon Treadwell with the 23rd overall selection, shared his thoughts on Tunsil’s drama filled night when he joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday.
“That’s what makes the NFL Draft reality TV,” Spielman said. “And you even saw that last year a little bit with the [La’el] Collins kid that came out of LSU, who’s a very talented player, who went from a potential first round pick to a college free agent, and he played athletically, very well, down in Dallas this year, and he’s very good football player. You don’t know what’s going to hit you on draft night, whether it’s a video that comes out like last night, or something that breaks the day before, but makes the draft’s exciting.”
Spielman said there isn’t one right answer for all organizations on how to handle Tunsil’s situation in real time, and whether or not to use a high pick on him.
“I’m sure just like our room, every team that was watching him slide down the board had to make a decision on not so much what he can do on the field, but do you trust him, and do you trust the character off the field?” Spielman said. “He landed in a great spot in Miami. I’m sure they did their due diligence. Probably pretty excited for a player they thought they were never going to get,” Spielman said.
As for their selection of Treadwell, Spielman couldn’t be happier that the talented wideout was on the board when they were on the clock. He believes Treadwell wouldn’t have been available at that point had he not suffered a serious leg injury that ended his 2014 season.
“I spent the past weekend with our college director and assistant GM, and we sat there and watched all of his 2014 tape and we felt that in ’14, he did not have that devastating injury, he was one of the top receivers coming out,” Spielman said. “And if you watch this year’s tape, he started out a little slow, just getting confidence on that leg and then what you see in the second half of the year, on his performance in ’15, we saw the same things we saw in ’14, so we were very excited when he was there at our pick.”
Spielman also said Treadwell’s toughness is a perfect fit for his team.
“I know Coach Zimmer wants a very tough physical football team, and he definitely fits that category,” Spielman said. “I know what he is as a receiver and catching radius and the big plays he can make because of his size and his length, but when you watch him with the ball not in his hands and how he blocks and the effort he gives on the backside, those are the type of football players that we want to bring into the Vikings.”