A four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, Aqib Talib has a long and checkered past, which includes multiple arrests and failed PED and drug tests. The problems aren't new either, the talented cornerback was first arrested as a high school student. In college at Kansas, Talib was suspended multiple times and had multiple positive tests for marijuana use.
Why does this matter for Redskins fans on the eve of the NFL Draft?
Despite all the trouble, Bruce Allen drafted Talib 20th overall in 2008 when the current Redskins general manager was in the same role for Tampa. While Talib's legal troubles and suspensions continued in the NFL, he also proved to be a highly capable cornerback in the pro game.
The lesson for those trying to determine the Redskins draft board: Allen might be willing to look past red flags if a player presents good value. Talib did in 2008, and there could be opportunities for Washington in 2017.
Reuben Foster jumps to mind, as the talented Alabama linebacker will enter the league in the substance abuse program. While Foster's issues pale in comparison to other allegations about some draft prospects, players like Joe Mixon, Gareon Conley and Caleb Brantley will also present unique circumstances for NFL teams to evaluate.
GMs are thrust into the unenviable task of determining a player's character, often in short periods of time. As 'Skins director of college scouting Scott Campbell explained, the team grades every player for their football skills first, and only later adds in character information. From Campbell's comments:
When you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don’t factor in the character. You don’t grade character, you grade talent. So you don’t throw away somebody early that may have some redeeming quality, or there’s a side to the story you don’t know about. You grade football players as football players first on talent, and then when it comes closer to the draft, you start weeding all that, getting more information, deciding, ‘OK, this guy’s not our kind of guy, this guy’s not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted, but good luck to him.
Thursday night the Redskins will be forced to make a determination on the right player for the team. That decision could include judging a player's character, and that could mean balancing legal or substance abuse troubles with talent and ability.
Talib is only one pick in Allen's long personnel career, but it's one worth noting.
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
Following the Wizards' Game 4 loss in Atlanta on Monday night, Brandon Jennings mentioned Hawks rookie Taurean Prince while answering a question that was unrelated to the 2016 first round pick out of Baylor.
"That kid Prince, he's been playing really well for them. We can't let guys like that get off, it hurts us," Jennings said.
Indeed, he has hurt the Wizards. After averaging just 5.7 points on 39.9 percent shooting during the regular season, Prince has reached double figures in each of his four playoff games. Against the Wizards, he's averaging 13.3 points on 63.9 percent shooting. Only three players have shot better in the 2017 playoffs.
Prince is hitting shots from all over. Most of his makes have come close to the basket, but from beyond eight feet he's 8-for-15 in the series.
"Just his energy and hustle has been great," Hawks forward Paul Millsap said. "His offensive ability has expanded even more so in the playoffs. I think that's very impressive as a rookie to do that. Hopefully his game continues to get better and he can continue to produce at the level he's producing."
Prince, 23, is doing a little bit of everything. He's grabbed at least four rebounds in all four games and in two of them has knocked down a pair of threes. Despite being a rookie and raw offensively. he has just three turnovers.
Prince is playing smart and not making mistakes.
"It feels like Taurean's doing a nice job of letting the game come to him. He's not forcing anything," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think he's focused on his defensive role, his defensive assignment. He's really just staying within himself offensively."
That defensive role has seen him guard multiple positions against the Wizards. He has even spent some time matched up with guards Bradley Beal and John Wall, to varying degrees of success. Mostly, he has been tough to deal with because of his strength and speed.
Prince is tough to deal with in transition and when he moves without the ball. As a result, he's getting his 13.3 points despite being eighth on the Hawks in usage rate.
The Wizards may have not had him near the top of their scouting report entering the series, as Prince was not a major factor on offense during the regular season. But he's found an extra gear in the playoffs and the impact is noticeable.