I’ve referenced Dez Bryant’s slipping draft stock in a few recent posts and decided I should take the time to address the issue on its own.
Bryant entered the offseason with some red flags attached to his name due to his suspension in 2009. However, most were willing to give Bryant the benefit of the doubt as it looked like he didn’t actually violate any rules. Had he been honest with the NCAA regarding his interactions with Deion Sanders it is likely that he would not have been suspended.
Teams showed up at the combine ready to hear his explanation and apology and put the story to bed. But it never happened.
By all accounts Bryant came across as immature and unwilling to take responsibility for his actions.
And then the stories of his work ethic began to leak out to the public. He reportedly has a long history of showing up late to meetings, practices and even games. In a story on Yahoo! Sports, Jason Cole quoted an unnamed source as saying, “I wouldn’t draft that kid unless I had someone to wake him up in the morning to get to meetings, someone to wake him up for practice and someone to wake him up for games.”
Cole quoted a second source on the subject who said “We’re not just talking about being a little late for warmups, but like being late for the actual game… When you start to hear some of the stories of there, you go, ‘He did what?’ ”
And yet a third source was quoted as saying “it does make you think, ‘If he’s like this in college, what’s it going to be like when he gets paid?’ ”
Bryant hasn’t exactly helped himself on the field either. He declined to workout at the combine, citing a pulled hamstring. He also elected not to work out at Oklahoma State’s Pro Day. Instead, he will hold a private workout in late March.
Physically, there’s no denying Bryant’s ability. He has the tools to be a truly elite receiver in the NFL. But whoever drafts him can expect him to be a handful.
What further hurts his stock is the fact that Brandon Marshall is sitting out there with nothing more than a 1st-round pick price tag on him. Teams are asking themselves: would I rather have an immature rookie or an immature Pro Bowler?
The answer to that one should be easy.