Did Dez Bryant hurt his draft stock?

Oklahoma State University announced Wednesday that All-American wideout Dez Bryant has been ruled ineligible for violating NCAA bylaw 10.1 after lying to the NCAA when asked if he had visited the home of former NFL defensive back Deion Sanders this summer. Questions remain about Bryant’s possible reinstatement, but the bigger question is how much this might affect his draft stock.

Bryant is currently listed as the eighth-best prospect on the NFP’s Super 30 and appeared well on his way to becoming the nation’s top wideout in this year’s draft class. However, after a stunt like this, you can be sure NFL team executives will more homework and background checks to make sure they know just what kind of kid Bryant is.

Personally, I don’t see it as a major strike, especially if Bryant is able to get back on the field and prove to NFL officials that he took his suspension seriously and is ready to play at a high level once he returns. We’ve seen it time and again -- NFL teams are often willing to overlook minor character concerns with receivers if the talent is there, and in my opinion, Bryant’s talent surely outweighs this infraction.

Now, if Bryant were to be out an extended period of time, not take his suspension seriously and return to the field out of shape, that would potentially send up red flags across the board and be a situation worth monitoring. But he’s going to have to answer a ton questions either way at the NFL Combine and in interview sessions, and he’ll have to be truthful with everything going forward if he hopes to dig himself out of this hole.

But after all is said and done, I still can’t see a talent like Bryant slipping out of the first round for an apparent minor infraction. If I were to interview Bryant, ask him about the situation and get a good feel for his maturity level and sincerity on the matter going forward, I wouldn’t have any trouble investing a top-15 pick in him.

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