A lot of people this week watched the NFL Draft, and some saw the biggest draft FAIL that the Bears had. Moving up one spot, and trading three picks to do it, to draft a quarterback who had only started 13 games in college, and wasn’t even the consensus top quarterback going in. That whole sequence was a pretty bad (read: completely god awful) night for the Bears, but that wasn’t the worst pick over the whole weekend.
Gareon Conley, Joe Mixon, Jourdan Lewis, Caleb Brantley, Dalvin Cook, DeDe Westbrook, among other smaller known prospects were the worst. Why? It isn’t because of where they got selected, most didn’t get drafted until later rounds, and only one went in the first, Gareon Conley, so why are they bad? It isn’t because of their football ability cause they are all world class athletes, no it is because of one common factor, off-field issues.
Other players had different off-field issues, such as Jabrill Peppers and Tim Williams fundamentally failing their drug tests with diluted samples, but rather a bigger problem. Violence against women.
Based on athleticism alone all of these players mentioned above should have been a first two round pick, but because they had “off-field issues” they fell, some a little like Dalvin Cook only to late second round and others like Caleb Brantley all the way to the sixth round. This just shows how much the NFL actually cares about domestic violence.
I meant to write about this at the beginning of free agency, but then Adrian Peterson did not get signed, I thought it was a turning point for the league. Alas not, eventually Peterson got a job with the Saints and some pretty good money to do it as well, 2.5 million to be exact. For a while there, however, it seemed like the NFL’s “No tolerance policy on domestic violence” was going to ring true. Then the draft came around.
Everyone knew about Joe Mixon, he “was suspended” a year, but used it as a redshirt year, in college because of a 2014 domestic violence incident where he hit a woman and there was a video. The video was way more graphic than the Ray Rice one, or any other one that had come out.
Then up to the podium walked Roger Goodell, pick in hand, introduced Anthony Munoz the Bengals pick selection representative. Munoz took the card and said “With the 48th pick in the 20-17 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals select Joe Mixon. Running back. Oklahoma.” Almost the instant that Munoz gets the words “Joe Mixon” out, boo’s rang down in Philadelphia. He immediately left the stage, and the camera’s cut to Bengals fans booing the pick and some even enjoying it. Which I get, Mixon is a supreme talent over 6 yards per carry in college, but Mixon also hit a woman. Almost no one thought he would go this high, especially after the video came out. But he did.
The problem is not that Mixon was not good enough to be drafted but rather that he did, and all the other perpetrators did as well. Gareon Conley had a case brought against him a week before the draft, yet he went in the first round to the Raiders, Jourdan Lewis has had his case looked at since March, and probably before that. Caleb Brantley had his case brought to light days before the draft, and even Dalvin Cook’s case had been talked about, but it was in 2014 and resolved long ago, and he has since kept his nose clean.
The problem the NFL has is that these teams, and the league, say that they will not tolerate any violence against women, or even doing illegal drugs in a similar token, and yet they draft and sign these guys with the history of it. The NFL doesn’t care about what you do off the field as long as you settle it quickly and quietly. Hit a woman in an elevator like Ray Rice? Get to be the face of the league’s anti-violence program to revive your career. Disrespect the flag like Colin Kaepernick, or drink or do drugs too much like many NFL players? Better kiss your career goodbye.