National Football League team sources confirmed to The Sports Xchange that three of the top 10 prospects for this year's NFL Draft admitted use of marijuana, but it should have little or no impact on their draft ratings.
The players cited are Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams and Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. None of them tested positive for drugs in tests done by the NFL or in any of the random tests conducted in college by the NCAA.
According to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com, each player is the top prospect at his position. Johnson is ranked as the top player in the entire draft, Gaines is seventh and Okoye 10th.
The admissions came out as part of a standard interview conducted at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine in February. The interview, conducted by a group of representatives from several teams, was videotaped and copies are sent to every NFL team.
Team sources told TSX that they are more concerned that this confidential information was revealed than they are about the admissions themselves because this may compromise the willingness of players to be completely honest in future interviews.
"In context, these admissions were extremely honest responses of relatively minor, old events that should have little or no impact on how we perceive these young men at this point in their lives," one NFL team executive told TSX.
According to a player personnel director from another team, players are encouraged to be totally forthcoming on even the most minor events as they approach jobs worth millions of dollars. Ostensibly, such honesty would benefit the players and their future employers should such events come to light in the future.
Suddenly, the future is now after the admissions were revealed in a Wednesday report by Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki. Several scouts, coaches and team executives told TSX that it is important that everybody understand the total context of such details.
As an example, one scout related a story told by Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson, the top-rated running back in the draft and ranked fourth overall by NFLDraftScout.com.
According to the scout, when Peterson was asked about marijuana use he told of a time in the fifth grade when he took some marijuana, rolled in paper, to school in his pocket and walked around with it all day. Peterson said he took it home, got rid of it and never did smoke it.
"Taken out of context and written for dramatic effect, I'm sure somebody could make that into a big story," the scout said.
"You admire the kids' honesty, actually. Every team in the league has done their homework on these kids. These aren't some fringe prospects, you know. It is a lot more of a concern for guys who have failed tests, have rap sheets, or are being deceitful."
Among the more notable 2007 prospects with documented, drug related charges are Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, UNLV cornerback Eric Wright and Texas cornerback Tarell Brown.
Another team official said that that public knowledge of the use of marijuana will have "little or no" impact on how the players are drafted, but he expects the subject to come up and is interested in how it will be discussed after the draft.
"You can obviously make what you want out of information such as this," said the team official, who then cited how teams address results of the Wonderlic Tests, which is supposed to quantify a player's basic intelligence.
"If a team doesn't like a player and that player gets a low test on the Wonderlic, the team says 'see, we told you he wasn't a good player.' But if they like a player and he scores low, then they just say, 'We never pay any attention to those tests anyway.'"
-- Rob Rang, Sr. Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, contributed to this report.
Three Top-10 Prospects Admit Marijuana Use
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