Mario Manningham: This Year's Draft Leper?

David WilsonCorrespondent IApril 19, 2008

Mario Manningham – This Year’s Draft Leper?

Every year there is at least one player who goes into free fall somewhere prior to draft day, due to questions raised about his ability to perform at the next level by scouts, health concerns, or his own behaviour.

No prizes for guessing who it is this year.  When you look at Mario Manningham’s college career at Michigan, and the numbers he put up, he should be the number one receiver in this draft.  Sadly for him though, his stock has plummeted due to some major character concerns generated by his own actions.

Not so long ago, Manningham was predicted to go in the first round, now he has people wondering just how far he will fall.  Why?  Because……..

·  He has TWICE tested positive for marijuana use whilst at Michigan.

·  He then lied about it at the combine.

·  Ran a 4.68 40 yard dash at the combine.

·  He has previously been arrested for possessing drugs prescribed to another player.

·  Has been in the company of other players from Michigan when they were arrested for drug possession (and who were later dismissed from the team)

·  He has been taken to court for non payment of rent.

Now all this has come to light, teams are noticing that….

·  He drops his share of footballs.

·  He is undersized, and not really a precise route runner.

As regards lying to NFL teams at the combine, does anyone actually think that Manningham had an attack of conscience and decided to admit all?  More likely his new agent told him “Sign this quick! And try and look sincere if anyone asks you about it!”

Questions must also be asked why if he did test positive twice for drugs for the Wolverines, why did he stay on the team?  Were exemptions and was he given special treatment made due to his on field performance?  Will he expect the same treatment in the NFL?

Will he become yet another  receiver to give the NFL a bad name with a ‘Me first! I want! I want!  Its my ball!” spoiled child type attitude as per Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, & Jeremy Shockey (What is it with people who catch a football for a living?).

With Roger Goodell and his personal conduct policy ridding the league of embarrassments like Pacman Jones, the commissioner will no doubt have his eyes firmly fixed on Manningham from the day he arrives.  Not only does he make bad choices himself, but he keeps dubious company, and that spells trouble. 


With Goodell coming down hard on those who break the rules, you can bet there are many teams who have dropped Manningham waaaaaaay down their draft boards.  However good a player is, you can’t make much use of him if he is suspended.

Manningham recently visited the Oakland Raiders, more than one journalist asked why the Raiders would bring him in?  Clearly they weren’t going to take him at number 4, and their next pick will be in the 4th round.  The answer is that he could just fall that far, would you risk a first day pick on a guy like that?

But please Al, we got rid of Randy Moss and Philip Buchanon, we don’t need another problem child (fingers crossed on DeAngelo Hall!)

Which team other than Oakland is likely to take a look at him?  How about the Dallas Cowboys?  Doesn’t it seem recently that all the league’s malcontents seem to drift over that way? (Terrell Owens, Tank Johnson, maybe Pacman Jones….). 

Funny, it used to be Oaklandt hat was the haven for felons (Warren Wells), rule breakers (Ted Hendricks), borderline psychopaths (Jon Matuszak, Lyle Alzado, Phil Villapiano), alcoholics (also Jon Matuszak), free spirits (Kenny Stabler), and players who were allegedly the ‘criminal element’ of the NFL (Jack Tatum, George Atkinson).  Ah! Happier times..............

One thing is for certain, whenever and wherever Manningham goes in this draft, he has cost himself a lot of money with the way he conducts himself.