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Laremy Tunsil & Robert Nkemdiche: Two (Ole) Miss(es)
- Updated: April 29, 2016
The NFL Draft is a crap shoot no matter how much research and scouting a team does. Players can turn out to be high pick busts as fast as perennial Pro Bowlers. And there are always those mid-to-late round gems that pop up from time-to-time. But when there is an obvious glaring negative staring everyone right in the face, selecting a player with that excess baggage becomes less of a gamble and more of a sure thing… the type that results in a quick exit out of the league.
The biggest story out of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft was not one of the positive variety, but rather how a prospect can go from being (at one time very recently) the projected top overall pick to tumbling to 13th – and be lucky he was even taken that high. Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil had some off-the-field questions to begin with, but those paled in comparison to the bombshell video clip of him smoking marijuana out of a bong hooked to a gas mask.
Then after the Miami Dolphins stupidly tabbed him, a second social media post came to light with a screen shot of a text message exchange allegedly between Tunsil and one of his college coaches about taking money from the latter, which is an obvious no-no in collegiate athletics.
Tunis’s reasoning? That both his Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked. No one is disputing that, since the player would not hang himself by posting incriminating evidence such as that. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t legitimate and accurate, neither. Which is very telling.
Another excuse from Tunsil is that the marijuana smoking incident was from his days in high school, which doesn’t help his cause at all.
That now brings us to his Ole Miss teammate Robert Nkemdiche, who also has a huge upside but comes with similar concerns. Back in December, he fell out of a window at an Atlanta hotel approximately 15 feet and when police responded, they found his room “in complete disarray” and containing “seven rolled marijuana cigarettes.” Nkemdiche was reportedly to have been under the effects of “synthetic marijuana” at the time of the incident, as well.
But that didn’t seem to bother the Arizona Cardinals, who drafted him at 29 in the first round. The defensive tackle may have been off the board long before that pick if not for his red flags.
Both can be viewed as ‘value’ picks where they ended up going because of what their eventual respective contracts will be. Tunsil left approximately $12 million on the table with his actions.
So what does this all mean?
The issue is that by smoking marijuana, both Tunsil and Nkemdiche went from being potential superstars in the NFL to major question marks and they will have the specter of the spotlight on them from Day One – and rightfully so. Neither of them should or will get a ‘mulligan’ because of their own choices.
No such thing is a sure thing in the NFL Draft, but a good bet here is that one or both of these players will be out of the league by 2019.