Since the inception of nationally broadcasting the NFL draft, we have agonized with several collegiate football players who anxiously wait for their name to be called.
Every year, there are prospects that suddenly fall from the good graces of the NFL, as teams have major concerns about their record of off-field issues. No one disputes their physical attributes, but it’s up to the player to convince a team that previous actions were done by an immature youngster who has outgrown his past.
Here are the top prospects that NFL teams will pass on.
Poor decision-making off the field prematurely ended Cliff Harris’ college career, but it hasn’t stopped NFL teams from taking an extensive look at this former All-American.
His final controversy surrounded a speeding ticket (third driving offense) prior to the start of last season, as Harris was caught driving 118 MPH on a suspended license.
In a league where teams are relying more on the passing game, defenses cannot have too many cover corners. But Harris will have to add weight to his smallish (5’11, 168 lb.) frame if he’s going to make an impact in the NFL.
Last year, University of Florida officials grew tired of the endless amount of indiscretions and dismissed CB Janoris Jenkins from school after his second marijuana-related arrest. In his one season at North Alabama, Jenkins has shown to be more mature, but is it too little, too late to convince NFL teams to draft him early in the first round?
Based on pure talent, Jenkins is a sure-fire first-rounder, as he is very fluid and light on his feet when defending the pass. His off-field issues are the only thing holding him back.
Even though DB Dre Kirkpatrick had his misdemeanor marijuana possession charge dropped, NFL teams may still pass on him during the early rounds of the upcoming draft.
A projected first-round pick, Kirkpatrick has the physical makeup to be converted into a safety later in his pro career. Right now, his skills are better at stopping the run than covering a wideout downfield.
Scouts have graded Reiff to be a top-15 pick, as his pass-blocking skills will make him an effective bookend tackle on any team’s offensive line. His overall talents are sure to make Reiff a perennial Pro Bowl player, but teams will select other linemen who have less concerns away from the gridiron before him.
Coming into his senior season, safety Janzen Jackson needed to dominate on the field and show his off-field issues were clearly behind him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have that productive of a year, and it could hurt Jackson from being drafted at all.
After several off-field incidents, he was dismissed from the University of Tennessee in what was rumored to be a failed drug test. Pro scouts love Jackson’s speed and physicality against receivers, but at the moment, he will likely only be a candidate for becoming an undrafted free agent.