All around the league, especially this time of year, the character concerns of NFL players comes front and center into the conversations. With the draft coming next week, there are always those players who draft stock falls because of those so-called "character concerns." However, the advice to the 32 teams in the league should be: Ignore them and draft that guy!
An SB Nation story suggests that teams should draft those players who have been arrested in their past, be it recent or distant. The thought is that most of these guys lose their immature ways once they get to the pro level and their true skills come out, making them excellent players as well as draft day steals.
An Associated Press article published on the website, masslive.com, details a study that suggests NFL teams are better off drafting players with some legal woes, as, "the data says take a chance."
(Click on the 'Jump' to read more, including which side the Baltimore Ravens stand on the issue)
The Baltimore Ravens know this for sure from just the 2011 NFL draft, where cornerback Jimmy Smith fell down to them due to other team's concerns about his off-the-field behavior. After just a year in the league, it appears the Ravens will have a solid cover corner for years to come in Smith.
The aforementioned study takes a look at every player drafted from 2005-2009 and breaks them down into four categories, based on team suspensions through legal troubles. The study says the players in the "arrested, but not charged" category result in the greatest bang for your buck.
In order from the most to the least, the Arizona Cardinals draft the most players with a history of trouble, followed by Cincinnati Bengals, ahead of the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. Ironically, the teams at the bottom of the risk-taking list include the Seattle Seahawks, who did not draft a single player in the study's categories, followed by the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens. Of course that was before the team drafted Sergio Kindle 92010) and Jimmy Smith (2011).