NFL Draft 2012: Morris Claiborne and the 5 Biggest Headaches in This Class
Year after year, an ocean of NFL-caliber prospects enter the combine and draft process with hopes of landing with a team.
Most show some sort of physical promise, but of course, a few bad eggs of the bunch come with the gamble of injury history, lack of focus or effort or character issues.
NFL general managers are pressed with the task of weighing the pros and cons, then deciding whether that prospect is worth taking that risk on.
This 2012 draft class has plenty of cases of that scenario. Here are five of the biggest headaches of this year's draft class.
1. Janoris Jenkins
Janoris Jenkins is carrying the biggest load of baggage over anybody else in this draft class.
Jenkins' troubles begin in 2009, when he was arrested for fighting and resisting arrest at a Gainesville bar. In 2011, the troubled cornerback was cited for numerous marijuana possessions and was dismissed from the University of Florida.
After all those troubles, Jenkins was forced to transfer from Florida. Jenkins played his senior season at North Alabama.
The dirty laundry doesn't stop there. In February, Jenkins admitted to being the father of four children by three different women.
Jenkins without question has first-round talent. However, with red flags to this degree, Jenkins' draft stock has plummeted, and he could miss out on quite a bit of money in this year's draft.
Will NFL general managers be too nervous to take a chance on a misguided player like Jenkins? Not worth the risk.
2. Alshon Jeffery
After a monster 2010 season, Alshon Jeffery seemed like a lock as a top-10 pick in the following NFL draft. Jeffery recorded 88 receptions for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns and looked like he would be the first wide receiver taken off the board.
Jeffery decided to return for his junior season to show he could repeat his success. His 2011 statistics didn't match up with the preseason expectations. Jeffery only caught 49 passes for 762 yards and eight touchdowns.
The South Carolina product also showed flaws in his game as his route running diminished, and he struggled to gain separation off the line against opposing defensive backs.
Jeffery did come into the draft combine at 216 pounds, meaning he lost 15 pounds after his junior season. With concerns of his speed, route running and decrease in production, it's hard to fully buy into Jeffery.
3. Vontaze Burfict
Another prospect whose stock is regressing due to a bad performance at the NFL combine.
Vontaze Burfict showed his weakness in mobility after running a poor 40-yard-dash at 5.09 and had another unimpressive display with only 16 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. Burfict also disappointed scouts during his pro day, as he struggled during linebacker drills.
Burfict was the starting middle linebacker for Arizona State. As the Sun Devils regressed towards the end of the season, Bufict followed the trend and got worse.
Burfict played a great portion of the season relying on his physical prowess instead of decision-making. The Arizona State product was caught on many possessions overpursuing a runner and taking bad angles on a play.
This extreme stock slump is all justified by a poor sense of character and a lack of effort. Starting as a potential top-10 option, Burfict could now land anywhere as late as the third round of the draft.
4. Morris Claiborne
The Wonderlic Test is designed to pick at the brain of a prospect. It consists of 50 questions that must be answered in 12 minutes or less.
Morris Claiborne scored four out of 50.
While his physical abilities are in question at a seldom rate, GMs might take a second glance when considering Claiborne as a draft pick. Claiborne won't fall out of the first round, but how far down in the first has now become the question.
Players like Vince Young have also struggled on this test. In 2006, Young scored a six his first time taking the Wonderlic exam. Young got his shot at redemption and scored a 15 the second time around.
This exam isn't a true test to the future of prospects at the pro level, but it shouldn't be taken lightly. Low scores could indicate a lack of effort or not enough attention paid to detail. Will prospects have that same train of thought on the field? NFL GMs have the right to wonder when eye-popping scores come out like Claiborne's. Not the ideal results you want heading into the NFL draft in late April.
5. Dre Kirkpatrick
6'3" cornerbacks don't come by very often, which makes Dre Kirkpatrick a very attractive option for a lot of teams. Kirkpatrick had a good run at Alabama and has a chance to make a splash in the NFL.
After a decent combine and some good moments in college, scouts and GMs have some reasons to be hopeful when discussing Kirkpatrick.
And out of nowhere, here comes a marijuana possession charge.
Kirkpatrick was arrested in January for carrying just under 20 grams of marijuana. Lucky for his sake, the trial was dismissed, but it's still a bad sign to know Kirkpatrick is surrounded by the wrong group of people.
Last season, Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens had a long list of issues and concerns that could affect his draft stock. Smith went to the perfect place with leaders of the defense such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who can keep Smith's poor decision-making on and off the field in check.
Kirkpatrick could use a team like that who will keep him on the right path and out of trouble. For now, GMs likely will be scratching their heads before pulling the trigger on the Alabama product.