In 2009 Percy Harvin won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award after being drafted 22nd by the Minnesota Vikings.
Harvin played college football at the University of Florida. He was a crucial piece of the Gators' 2008 national championship team. As such, he had hoped to be drafted much higher than 22nd overall.
Harvin definitely had the talent to be drafted in the top 10 that year. However, 21 teams were put off by numerous red flags attached to the 21-year-old—the most serious being that he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine.
Testing at the combine is not secretive or selective. Every player went in knowing that he would be tested.
Not all red flags are so obvious for NFL scouts and evaluators to see; nonetheless, they are all as important.
To this point the Vikings have been given no off-the-field headaches (or migraines, in this case) by their talented receiver.
Harvin proves that not all talented players with red flags should be written off. There are quite a few players in this year's draft in the same situation.
Here are the five most crucial in my mind.
Tyron Smith is being projected as the best tackle in this draft class. This is very unusual considering that Smith has only played right tackle during his college career.
Smith in a sense is unfortunate to be in the position he is in.
Yes, had there been better tackles in the draft, he would not be so highly projected and would make less money. However, if there were better tackles in the draft, he would not be under immediate pressure to help a team at left tackle.
Smith's red flag isn't so much against him as much as it is against the lack of other left tackle prospects coming out this year.
A likely landing spot for Smith is No. 9 overall to Dallas.
Should this situation come to fruition, Smith will be under pressure to perform instantly. He would likely become the team's starting left tackle in his rookie season. The Cowboys are a team looking to compete now irrespective of their spot in the draft. They have fans that believe a good left tackle is the final piece of the offense, which would really pile the pressure on Smith.
Smith is only 20 years of age. He would need to have a very mature head on his shoulders to deal with such pressure so early in his career.
Nick Fairley is the biggest worry for me heading into this draft.
He is obviously abundantly talented and can do things that most other tackles cannot. However, he was a one-year wonder at Auburn. His workouts have not been impressive leading up to the draft, causing many teams to question his work ethic.
The fact that he was unable to do the bench press at the combine is a huge hit to his draft stock. He needed to prove his strength to scouts because of the lack of game tape available on him. Fairley is definitely a top-five talent, but to an extent he is a wild card because you don't know exactly what you are getting.
He was also academically ineligible coming out of high school, which led him to junior college.
If Fairley doesn't end up in an organization with strong leadership, he could struggle to compete with professional football players.
Many mock drafts have Fairley going to Tennessee. The last thing Titans fans want to see is another lazy defensive tackle.
Staying with Auburn, the self-proclaimed icon makes an appearance on this list.
Cam Newton's attitude doesn't really worry me—all NFL players need to be confident in their abilities. He showed at Auburn that he has the ability to be a leader.
What worries me about Newton is the hype. The fact that he came from nowhere to become a record-breaking college player last year has put him in the category of a certain Florida quarterback from last season.
Newton is definitely more talented than Tim Tebow when throwing the football but still needs some work. He is not the most accurate passer in the draft, and rushing quarterbacks don't go as high as he is projected. Newton may well be the next Michael Vick, but realistically he will need to curtail his playing style to be more like Ben Roethlisberger.
A lot of that will be decided by his ego. If he is too cocky to stop himself from trying to beat defenders with his feet repeatedly, he won't make it in the NFL.
Newton also needs work on his footwork and mechanics as he transitions from a spread offense in college. Unlike Tebow, Newton is unlikely to be afforded the chance to sit for an extended period after the draft.
He will be taken in the top half of the first round. That means he will probably be expected to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. This is a lot to ask of a player who has really only had one season of success in college.
Newton hasn't worked out as well as Blaine Gabbert during the buildup to the draft, which is another red flag against a player that is the most talented offensive player in this year's draft.
Last season Dez Bryant was drafted by his hometown Dallas Cowboys. Bryant quickly became a fan favorite in Dallas with his big performances on the field. However, it had been a much different story the season before.
Bryant barely got on the field during his final season in college, similar to Robert Quinn. Bryant was suspended for most of his last college season.
Quinn must now undergo the same scrutiny Bryant did during private workouts and interviews. How he reacts to these tests will determine if he is to keep his status as a potential top-10 pick.
Robert Quinn is in line to become the first defensive end off the board after the fall of Da'Quan Bowers. He had 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2009. Then Quinn missed his senior season after being suspended for receiving illegal benefits.
North Carolina still managed an 8-5 record without him. Quinn also missed out on being a part of the team's 30-27 Music City Bowl victory.
According to draft expert Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, Quinn also has undisclosed "learning concerns." This could be a red flag for teams that are looking to convert Quinn from defensive end to outside linebacker. He would essentially have to learn a new position, which makes his interviews with individual teams even more important.
What really hurts Quinn is his average pro day showing. After being out of football for so long, it isn't exactly startling, but a potential top-10 pick needs to do more. If he had really wanted to impress GMs, he would have used his past problems for motivation to keep himself in the best possible shape. Not all stars in the NFL must cry about their draft-day drama like Tom Brady, but it does help.
One much-publicized red flag against Quinn has been the presence of a tumor that was found in his brain two years ago. Quinn had brain surgery while in high school, and it has remained benign since then. This is a difficult thing to analyze unless you have a degree in neurology. Whether it is a legitimate red flag or he is no more at risk of suffering than any other person remains to be seen.
This draft does not have a consensus No. 1 pick, such as Matthew Stafford in 2009. Nor can you narrow down the options to just two players like last year, when Sam Bradford beat out Ndamukong Suh to join the Rams.
If any one player from this year's mock draft network across the media had stood out ahead of the rest, it was Da'Quan Bowers. Bowers had at one stage been described as the safest possible pick in the draft for the Carolina Panthers, but many red flags have emerged.
As of the 13th of April, these flags have dropped him to 13th in Walterfootball.com's Mock draft and a low of 16th in two of NFL.com's five mock drafts, while Todd McShay of ESPN.com has dropped Bowers all the way to 20th.
Bowers' biggest red flags relate to on-the-field aspects of the evaluation process.
According to a report from Steve Wyche of NFL.com, "The medical recheck of Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers...showed signs of potential long-term arthritis and some weakness in his surgically repaired right knee."
If Bowers is not at 100 percent, he could suffer a similar fate to that of Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle. Last year Kindle was projected to go towards the very top of the draft board. Ultimately he fell out of the first round completely and landed in Baltimore with the Ravens.
Reports emanated about Kindle's medical well-being that caused him to fall to 43rd overall. Unfortunately Kindle didn't play a snap in the NFL last season due to an unrelated head trauma, so it's hard to compare the two.
Long-term problems for Bowers aren't his immediate concern, as the other red flag around him is his current level of performance.
Bowers' pro day was disappointing, according to The Charlotte Observer. That report claims that some scouts had him over five seconds in his 40-yard dash time. For the type of player that Bowers is, that is unacceptable. His ability to rush the passer would diminish with speed like that.
Bowers is riding his 15.5 sacks from last season. That, however, was before the arthroscopic knee surgery in January, which has severely reduced his burst. Bowers claims to be 100 percent, but for his sake, he better still be in the process of healing because the finished product right now has two too many red flags to be a top draft pick.