Florida State offers, at a minimum, eight players who could end up in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. The Patriots are extremely interested in what the team has to offer and sent a large contingent of coaches to scout their Pro Day.
One of their potential first round prospects, cornerback P.J. Williams, was considered a possible match to one of the Patriots biggest needs. He's big, he's quick, he's physical, and he can play the type of the coverage New England wants in their secondary.
It turns out, he might not be the best of options.
Florida State CB and potential first rd pick, PJ Williams arrested last night and charged with DUI. More to come— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) April 3, 2015
Williams joins a list of players who make terrible decisions right before the biggest day of their life. Some bad decisions are viewed as worse than others, for good reason, and DUIs rank towards the bottom of the concerns of front offices. I have no idea why.
Players can drop from the first to the third round due to concerns about marijuana. Those that assault others, whether it's a police officer, a coach, or a significant other, can plummet out of the draft. For whatever reason, driving under the influence, along with all of the potentially deadly consequences of these actions, doesn't really move the needle.
Prospects like tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (38th overall) in 2014, and wide receivers Justin Blackmon (5th overall) and Michael Floyd (13th overall) in 2012 were drafted in roughly their expected position- and these are premium draft picks. Of course, these players had DUIs a year or more prior to the draft- even if some like Floyd had multiple alcohol related encounters.
The most similar case to Williams would be linebacker Alec Ogletree, who was charged with a DUI the February prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, and just immediately before the NFL Combine. Ogletree went 30th overall.
Teams have every right to weigh the impact of these decisions however they deem fit. People can change and grow from when they hit the bottom and we've seen countless persons change themselves for the better. These people need help more than anything and ostracizing them would only make it worse.
But let's not pretend like teams will weigh a DUI the same way as a failed drug test. It's just not what they do.
Williams was arrested and charged with a DUI. He will remain a fringe first round prospect and a likely a top 50 player. And hopefully he will grow and learn from this moment.