I’m sure we’ve all got Paxton Lynch on our minds right now. I know I still do, but I still also have what happened to Laremy Tunsil on my mind right now, and they’re not entirely happy thoughts. So I’m just going to dump these thoughts on quickly and then move on to Day 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Right before the draft, a video was briefly posted on Tunsil’s Twitter account of a person smoking from a bong while wearing a gas mask. On first glance, we couldn’t be for sure that it was Tunsil in the video, nor if it was Tunsil who posted it.
Of course, if you are a GM and just about to go on the clock to consider a potential top five talent, this is going to understandably spook you, especially since you have a lot of other variables to think about. But if you just took a breath and thought about this a bit, you could have a chance to determine some mitigating factors:
- Again, was it even Tunsil in the video, and would he really post something like this when he’s on the way to the green room of the 2016 NFL Draft?
- All 32 teams were notified that no one failed a drug test at the scouting combine. And incoming rookies could still be subject to the yearly random drug test until early August. So even if Tunsil was smoking cannabis, there’s good reason to believe that it would have been a long time ago.
- And even if this video would cause Tunsil to violate the substance abuse policy, since no one failed a drug test at the combine it would only enter him into Stage 1 of the policy. That is hardly a death sentence for one’s NFL career. Just ask Shane Ray.
Now, even with or without this video it is defensible for teams to pass on Tunsil. I personally preferred Ronnie Stanley to Tunsil, but that is a preference open to fair debate. And everyone has needs or wants that can cause any player to drop. Ask Aaron Rodgers. So it’s not fair to try to read the minds of the 12 or so GMs that passed on a chance to draft Tunsil. I will give them, and Tunsil, the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately, the commentators on both ESPN and NFL Network were all too eager to hang Tunsil out to dry. I will try to rewatch segments at a later date to get accurate quotes, but I recall a lot of what I would describe as an older generation chiding a younger generation for all of their social media usage, and blaming Tunsil for not being more responsible with this type of technology. The conversations were something that really bothered me in live time, and I really wish that those covering this news would have given this story the skepticism it deserves.
Thankfully, the Dolphins did not get scared enough to use the 13th overall pick on Tunsil. And as I said as a comment when it happened, the best thing for people to hear is that once upon a time, Miami selected a player much later than most thought he would have gone due to uncertain information about drug usage.
You know who that player was: Dan Marino.