INDIANAPOLIS -- There are players in every draft where, as a front office and coaching staff, you have to determine if it's worth the risk to select a player that has been less than perfect character-wise because the talent is too great to pass on.
My thought has always been that if I didn't take a kid, somebody else would and they would beat me with that player. As crazy as that might sound, it's the honest truth. Jerry Jones took a chance on Dez Bryant when others had him off their draft boards and today there isn't a team in this league that wouldn't want to have Bryant running routes for them. Before Bryant, Denny Green took a chance on Randy Moss and we all know how that worked out.
But there are also those cases where no matter how much you believe in your coaches and the support staff to take care of the player, it just isn't going to work out. My best example of this was when the St. Louis Rams took a risk on drafting running back Lawrence Phillips out of Nebraska. The film on Phillips was outstanding, but the more we studied his situation before the draft, the more evident it became that there was no way we were going to touch the player. It just wasn't worth the risk to have to take a player that high and hope that he would work.
This brings me to the case of Dorial Green-Beckham -- the talented receiver from Missouri who was dismissed from the squad, then tried unsuccessfully to transfer to Oklahoma where the NCAA blocked his request on the transfer.
In talking to scouts and evaluating his work myself, there might not be a more talented player in the draft -- regardless of position. He is a rare combination of size and athletic ability, but instead of breaking him down as a player, we are left having to discuss a list of off the field issues. Scouts and coaches draw battle lines in the room on whether the talent is greater than the character or visa-versa.
Thursday was my first opportunity to listen to Green-Beckham speak on the subject. While he didn't want to address his legal troubles while at Missouri with us, he won't be able to avoid the topic with NFL clubs.
What I do know, having sat in that room and grilled these players before, is that Green-Beckham will be prepared to handle the questions. His problem will arise when these scouts and coaches take him in 100 different directions by asking the same questions but in a different manner to see if his story stays consistent. What we were always looking for was if there were any inconsistencies in what we had heard him say or what we had found on our own.
If we did feel that there were inconsistencies, then we would hammer them.
As difficult as it might be for Green-Beckham to relive his past, how he handles these questions are vital to his future. He is going to have to convince these clubs that what happened to him while in college is truly in his past. Green-Beckham's game plan should be very simple: tell the true and don't try and hide anything.
I always felt that if a player was telling me really what happened, then it was easier to fight for him when we all got back to that war room. One of the most passionate arguments that I had ever heard for a player was when Jim Garrett and Walt Yowarsky went to bat for Randy Moss in front of Jerry Jones. As bad as all the off the field information on Moss was, Garrett and Yowarsky believed in the player where the coaches did not.
Dorial Green-Beckham is going to have his believers and those that want nothing to do with him. If this player didn't have the ability to play the way he does, it would be easy to pass on him -- but that's not the case at all. I am hearing that the most important area dealing with him is that you have to stay on him. He was a bit of a spoiled player that got away with things at times and that needs to change.
I believe that a team is going to do their homework on him and take that shot because the talent is too great, but there are a couple of questions that he is going to have answer along the way.