In the thick of college football season, Oklahoma State's star WR Dez Bryant has been declared ineligible after violating NCAA Bylaw 10.1.
The absence of the Cowboys' playmaker will undoubtedly be noticed as they navigate through their Big 12 schedule, but will this violation continue to haunt Bryant after he leaves Stillwater and captains the NFL Draft waters?
Before the violation, Dez Bryant was the consensus No. 1 receiver in the 2010 NFL Draft and a potential top 10 pick. At 6'2", 217, Bryant is similar in stature to Andre Johnson - he has enough size and strength to dominate corners in press situations and the speed and body control to make spectacular catches downfield. He also has three punt return TDs in 25 attempts to go with his 29 career receiving TDs (19 in 2008).
More and more NFL teams are working to identify red flags on prospects, and the easiest ones to spot are those that keep you off the field.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Bryant's violation was, "with a former NFL player not affiliated with OSU" (rumored to be Deion Sanders). This would indicate he wasn't getting paid under the table by a booster and he wasn't negotiating with an agent early -not that those things would have a major impact on his NFL draft prospectus.
Plenty of draft prospects have a little something on their sheet. From grades to gifts, or bar brawls to domestic abuse, NFL decision makers have seen it all.
When debating the impact a red flag will have on a prospect, you must ask the question "what will the GM or owner's wife think?"
It may sound ridiculous, but if a prospect has hit his girlfriend, been arrested for drug possession, or hospitalized a frat boy in a scuffle, it has a much bigger "Oh My God" effect than if he was rubbing shoulders with the right people.
There may still be backlash from some NFL teams despite this not being a criminal infraction or something he did in the classroom. You can guarantee the draft report on Bryant will have accounts dating back to high school - or earlier, and there will be expectations of immaculate pre-draft workouts, and he will need to be honest with everyone who interviews him.
Even if Bryant is reinstated before the season is over, his top-10 hopes may have evaporated, if they ever really existed. The 2010 NFL Draft looks to be filled with elite defensive players and quarterbacks, and offensive tackles are always at a premium.
Receivers are diminishing in value in the NFL draft, and I expect Bryant to be the top receiver off the board between picks 10 and 20 as long as he can impress teams more than Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard and Brandon LaFell between now and then.
Pending his reinstatement, Bryant could return to OSU for his senior season in 2010, but I think his violation proves pro football is his main objective.