If a player has character issues, teams have plenty of opportunities to find them out before the NFL draft.
The process begins in the fall, before the draft, when scouts attend campuses and speak privately with coaches about players.
“They might tell you some trouble [the players] have had with the law, and some other places they’re going to be tight-lipped,” said NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, formerly a scout with the Ravens, Eagles, and Browns.
But scouts are employed to make football decisions. Most teams also have their own security department, consisting of former police officers and detectives, who do full background checks on every player on a team’s draft board.
“I’m talking about parking tickets, everything,” Jeremiah said. “And if there were some issues where you had major concerns, you take it to the next step.”
The security personnel also often attend the college all-star games, such as the Senior Bowl, to interview athletes one on one. They also meet with the athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine, and if they still aren’t sure about a player’s character, they invite him to the team’s facility for one of their 30 official draft visits. The players sign a waiver so the security staff is authorized to obtain private information.
“Most of these kids are trained to be honest, because the worst thing that can happen is you don’t tell [the teams] something, and they find out,” Jeremiah said.Ben Volin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin