With the first pick of the NFL Draft a little more than 48 hours away, one of football’s great annual traditions is ALMOST here. But before we put the Browns on the clock, let’s get started with another annual tradition that’s almost just as time-honored. Dumb draft prospects WHO COST THEMSELVES TONS OF JACK because they can’t pass a drug test.
You know the guy. He’s there every year. In the green room, waiting and waiting for Rog to announce his name. Or at home with mom, dad with friends and family, sitting on the couch as the phone just won’t ring. And at a time where avoiding risk is everything and a player should not do anything other than go to the gym and back, there’s always that guy, or two or three, who just cannot bake. Oh, they’re committed all right. But not to their craft. But to their CHRON. And that commitment ends up costing someone a comma on their first paycheck. Just ask Laremy Tunsil, who decided to hot box his face as he went Darth Bonger, and then the next thing you know, a guy projected to possibly go first overall, just hours earlier, slides all the way to number 13.
So go ahead and add Jabrill Peppers and Reuben Foster to the list. And two of the draft’s difference makers — two guys who could be impact, first round selections, are not a part of a program no one wants to be associated with — Rog’s Drug Program. Both failed with a diluted sample. And it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; both players and their reps had their excuses locked and loaded: Food poisoning for Foster, a history of cramping for Peppers, with the former Michigan star’s agents proclaiming he has never failed a drug test.
Well. He has now. Because to the league, a diluted sample is a positive drug test. And now both these guys begin their career in Stage One of the drug program, meaning that they’re only a “puff, puff, pass” away from a four-gamer. And that’s the kind of risk that could cause both guys — two of the draft’s elite talents — to slide.
Listen, this isn’t about the league’s antiquated drug policy. It is. And the league should rewrite the rules about Chron. Society has. But that’s not what this is about. This is about being responsible enough not to bake in the weeks and months leading up to the draft. It’s not like you don’t know this drug test is coming. And if you know it’s coming and you bake anyway, you’re either really dumb or really addicted or both.
Either way, I’m not burning a high draft pick on you. Not if you can’t stop burning long enough to pass a drug test right before the most important day of your entire life. And if I can’t trust a guy to handle that, how am I going to trust him with millions and millions of dollars and expect him to get his work in and prepare week in and week out. If he can’t even prepare for the single biggest test of his life.
Maybe — MAYBE — Peppers deserves the benefit of the doubt. But Foster? Find me a guy who has had a worse offseason than him. After getting chucked from the Combine for nearly throwing hands with a HOSPITAL WORKER during the draft’s medical exams, he’s now chased it with a failed drug test. Unbelievable talent on the field, maybe the most dominant player on Nick Saban’s defense. But he enters the draft with a failed drug test, a bad wing, and the worst-nightmare for your team’s medical staff.
Both Peppers and Foster are incredible talents. Both have first round grades. Both were on the top of team’s draft boards at their respective positions after turning off the tape. But if you can’t pass a drug test that you KNOW is coming, that’s on you. And if both these guys start sliding down the board on Thursday — they can chalk up all that money they just burned down on being really dumb. And really unprofessional.
Buyer beware. Draft at your own risk.