Three players widely regarded as top-10 picks in the NFL draft, including Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, have admitted to previously using marijuana, Pro Football Weekly reported.
Johnson, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams and Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye admitted using the drug, according to multiple sources who have watched the interviews, the publication reported. The admissions were made during standard interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine, which are taken by every player and shared by all 32 teams for review.
Would an admission of previous marijuana use make you less interested in a draft prospect with no other known character issues?
Johnson is being considered by the Oakland Raiders for the first overall pick in the draft.
While some teams could see marijuana use as troubling, others might view the players' admissions of prior use as a sign of maturity, particularly since players are encouraged to be honest in the interviews.
But the NFL's new player conduct policy, along with its hardline suspensions of the Cincinnati Bengals' Chris Henry for eight games and the Tennessee Titans' Adam "Pacman" Jones for an entire season, could cause teams to put even more emphasis on character, now that the league has made clear it will deal with off-the-field misbehavior harshly.
"[NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] is going to be all over any team that drafts players with borderline character," an unidentified team official said, according to Pro Football Weekly. "You are not going to see a draft like, for instance, Cincinnati's [in 2006], where they took four criminals in one draft, because the owners are going to start getting fined."