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Report: Pot use way up in this draft class

Teams will have to evaluate player histories very closely Brad Biggs

Print This March 24, 2010, 10:50 AM EST

What is more a sign of the times than the swift adoption of a new overtime rule for the postseason, an overreaction to the NFC title game played two months ago?

How about the startling report by Don Banks of SI.com from the NFL owners meeting in which he detailed the high level of concern that teams have regarding draft prospects and marijuana this year.

Banks has some club officials cite some alarming statistics when looking ahead to the draft next month, numbers that are going to make it dicey for some selections. According to the report, the number of college players who are admitting in interviews to past use of marijuana and/or failed drug tests for marijuana in college is at an all-time high.

How high? Banks cites one personnel man saying 10 or 11 players on his team’s draft board with first-round grades have been red-flagged for marijuana use. What’s worse? One head coach told Banks “one-third” of the players on his team’s board have some level of marijuana use in their history.

Wow.

The story, which is worth a read, details how teams are going to have to sort through the players and their pasts and determine the ones who have been occasional recreational users and the ones who are going to bring a problem with them to the NFL. Pick the wrong player and you might as well just burn that money you’re going to invest with the weed. Pick the right player, as Banks notes, and maybe you wind up with Percy Harvin or DeSean Jackson. Remember, there was concern about marijuana with Warren Sapp when he plummeted on draft day all the way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Like they say, the draft is an inexact science, one that is becoming increasingly more tricky. Turn your back on every player with pot in his background, and ignore a tremendous amount of talent. Pick the wrong players, prepare to be fired.

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