Aldon Smith and the NFL's Most Troubled Young Talents

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIJuly 2, 2012

Aldon Smith and the NFL's Most Troubled Young Talents

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    San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was stabbed twice this weekend while trying to break up a fight at a house party.

    It was the second off-field incident for Smith this offseason and showed that the 49ers should have concerns about their phenomenally talented sack specialist. 

    Smith has now joined a long list of young NFL talents who have been causing havoc off the field in recent years. The following players need to get their acts together before they are run out of the league. 

Aldon Smith

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    Smith was stabbed while attempting to break up a fight at a house party this weekend, according to CSNBayArea.com.

    Sources told the website that the linebacker sustained minor stab wounds and he was expected to make a full recovery. 

    The Missouri product registered 14 sacks and 30 tackles for the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie in 2011, but has had a tumultuous offseason. He was arrested in Miami on January 28 for DUI charges.

    The 22-year-old is a phenomenal talent who has already made a serious impact for the 49ers. But he has to start acting like a professional on and off the field if he wants to avoid becoming a cautionary tale.

    Staying out until all hours of the night almost never leads to good things. Especially when alcohol is involved. 

Nick Fairley

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    Nick Fairley had character concerns entering the 2011 NFL Draft, and that caused him to fall to the Detroit Lions at No. 13.

    After an injury-plagued rookie season, the Auburn product has had an eventful offseason.

    On May 27, Fairley was arrested for a DUI and eluding the police.

    Fairley reportedly passed a state trooper at 100 miles per hour (according to ESPN), and was also cited for reckless driving, no proof of insurance and having an open container. That came just a few weeks after he was arrested for second-degree possession of marijuana.

    Like Smith, Fairley has a lot of decisions to make about his life. Something has to change or he will spin out of control and never end up realizing his potential.

Aqib Talib

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    It's really hard to figure out where to start with Talib. He's an extremely talented cornerback who might be a Pro Bowler if he ever figured out how to keep his nose clean off the field. 

    After being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 20th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Talib quickly got into trouble by getting into a fight with Cory Boyd at the NFL's Rookie Symposium.

    Then in August of 2009 he was arrested for battery of a cab driver and resisting arrest.

    In March of 2011 a felony warrant was issued for Talib for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly firing a gun at his sister's boyfriend. Those chargers were later dropped thanks to character concerns of the witness. 

    Like the other guys on this list, Talib is playing with fire. He somehow always seems to find himself in trouble.

    The smart thing for the 26-year-old to do would be to just confine himself to his house for a while. Don't leave, don't talk to anyone, don't touch anything.

    Maybe he'll be able to stay out of trouble then.

Alfonzo Dennard

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    After being regarded as no worse than a third or fourth-round pick leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, Alfonzo Dennard dropped like a rock. The New England Patriots finally grabbed him in the seventh round with the 224th pick. 

    The Nebraska product was the 2011 Big Ten defensive back of the year, but character concerns scared off a ton of teams. 

    At the 2012 Capital One Bowl, Dennard was ejected after punching South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery in the third quarter of the game.

    Then in April, Dennard was charged with third-degree felony assault of a police officer after he punched an officer who was responding to a disturbance outside a Lincoln bar. 

    Dennard is 22 years old and definitely has some growing up to do. Hopefully he'll figure out a way to keep his temper in check.

Janoris Jenkins

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    Like Dennard, Janoris Jenkins is a talented defensive back whose character concerns scared off plenty of teams in the 2012 NFL Draft. The St. Louis Rams eventually took a gamble on him in the second round with the 39th pick. 

    Jenkins was involved in a fight in 2009 with a member of Florida's football team, then in 2011 he was arrested twice in a three-month span for drug possession.

    Those arrests led to Jenkins being booted from the team and he transferred to North Alabama.

    The 23-year-old also has four children by three women and reportedly had character red flags while at North Alabama as well. 

    He is certainly a talented player, but Jenkins has a lot of questions to answer about his off-field behavior before he'll earn the trust of his NFL team.