clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why the Ravens were Right About Laremy Tunsil

Passing on the troubled player might have saved the Ravens a headache and a vacancy.

When Tunsil looks back, does he have remorse?
When Tunsil looks back, does he have remorse?
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

There are differing accounts about when the Baltimore Ravens' Draft War Room decisionmakers decided to pass on troubled T Laremy Tunsil. Some say that it was the moment they saw the now-infamous masked marijuana video, some say that it was before that because of how they graded him and T Ronnie Stanley.

No matter the timing, the Ravens were right. Here's why.

1.) The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. This mantra, echoed throughout 1 Winning Drive, is how the Ravens approach judging the character trajectory of potential picks and signees.

Man, is it true.

Let's look at Tunsil's past behaviors. He has a lot of red flags along his traveled road: he was present as his teammate fell off of a balcony allegedly escaping trouble; he asked his coach for rent money for his family at least twice--a violation of NCAA rules that Ole Miss will now have to probe and inevitably answer for; he was suspended for 7 games at Ole Miss last season for impermissible benefits--driving cars from a local dealership. Not to mention the entire dysfunctional, publicly volatile relationship with his stepfather, who has an active lawsuit against him.

What kind of resume is that? Can you blame anyone for being hesitant? Especially with the cherry on top of the twitter video?

(I know some oppositional-type folks will point to Ray Lewis, but had he had any public issues in his college years? No. And once he was fully exonerated from the nightclub case, did anything ever pop up again? No. It's called living and learning. Tunsil should try it.)

The message of the Ravens and other teams that passed on Laremy is clear: we have been burned one too many times by a player who is this careless.

2.) People wink at marijuana use. Yet, it is against league policy. It remains on the NFL Drug Panel of tested substances, and the test is relatively sensitive--a nanogram is not a lot. While it is true that many law enforcement divisions around the country have placed a low, or even the lowest, priority on enforcing a anti-marijuana law, there are repercussions for a professional athlete to develop a habit of using this drug. The scientific side of it is that it kills brain cells and reduces memory sharpness. The social side of it could be said to promote laziness and an appetite for repeated sessions, somewhere south of addiction, but definitely habit-forming. Clearly, Tunsil is steeped in this cycle--he did not issue a statement disclaiming marijuana altogether, after the draft-day fiasco, but only said that he has passed his drug tests--and it will affect his gameplay and life. It is not the focus of this mishap, which cost him 7 million dollars, but awkward family relationships and immaturity are. Sort of. Not many people have cited Tunsil with wrongdoing. It's being couched as more of a cautionary tale about trusted friends and social media. The message of the Ravens and other teams that passed on Laremy is clear: we have been burned one too many times by a player who is this careless, with regards to marijuana. Will Hill could be somewhere at least feeling vindicated that he is not the only one the Ravens have to treat this way. Without accountability in his life, much less even an indication of guilt (marijuana use is illegal in Mississippi AND Florida), Tunsil has no reason to reform the winked-at use that was the true problem with the video. No marijuana use, no video. Or, it would not have even gotten one retweet, as selfish as Twitter is these days.

3.) Miami a'int exactly a Holy land. Had he been drafted by the Ravens, Green Bay, or buckle-of-the-Bible-belt Carolina, perhaps a community (or team culture, in the Ravens case) which is not as racy would have helped his forming more responsible habits. But South Beach? Sin City South? Home of the world's most famous Vice squad (Vice=Addicitve, illegal, behavior)? The odds just don't appear to be great for Tunsil's survival. Side note: do the Dolphins love controversy with its big men? Other teams have controversial skill players, but Miami seems to be the home of mischievous mid-liners, of late. Or maybe they just get caught more.

4.) Stanley's chip. Now, 1st round draftee Ronnie Stanley has a reason to play with a chip on his shoulder. Pundits have long said that Tunsil is the better player of the two, and some now continue to say that he was not the first choice of the Ravens, all things being non-viral. His toughness having been questioned, ("And you're tough, right?", said Deion Sanders in the post-draft interview with Stanley, intimating that this was a question about him) Stanley should be ready to unleash his frustration on anything standing in his way on the gridiron. That bodes well for the purple and black.

Like most seasoned NFL fans, I hope for the best for Tunsil. Would love to see him beat the odds, kick the habit, and have a fruitful and long career.

Without true motivation, I don't see why or how he will change.

Perhaps failure could become the motivation for change in his future.