Former Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard had been projected to be selected anywhere from the late first round to the third round in next week’s NFL draft. After last night, who knows when Dennard will get selected.
The All-Big Ten cornerback was arrested Saturday morning at 2AM on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, third-degree assault, and resisting arrest. This from WOWT.com:
Officers tried to break up a fight between Dennard and a 22-year-old man outside The Hour Lounge near 14th and O streets about 2:15 a.m.
As an officer attempted to take Dennard into custody, Dennard pushed the officer and punched him once, striking the left side of the officer’s ear and jaw. The officer sustained a minor injury. He did not seek medical treatment. Dennard was subsequently arrested after a brief struggle with four officers.
It’s unfortunate to say the least for the young man. Not that there’s ever a good time to get arrested – especially on a potential felony charge – but the timing couldn’t be any worse.
The first round of the NFL draft is set to begin on Thursday, April 26th with the second and third rounds to come the following day. The draft will conclude with the final four rounds on Saturday, April 28th..
The Journal Star in Lincoln had already talked with a couple draft experts about how the incident may affect Dennard in the eyes of NFL teams. “Historically something like this costs a guy a round probably,” Gil Brandt an analyst for NFL.com said. “One of the things that’s hard to justify is … people will say, ‘Well, why did we draft a guy that punched a cop at 2 o’clock in the morning?’ And that’s a hard part to get over.”
Russ Lande thinks it could hurt him even worse. “But he might even be in the fifth or sixth,” Lande said. “I doubt he’ll go in the first three rounds because of this.
“A lot of it is really going to depend on the research teams find. Teams are going to tell their scouts, ‘Hey … go figure out what’s going on because we’ve got this guy sitting on our board.’”
And therein lies the problems teams will now be faced with. It’s probably not fair to rush to judgment until all the facts surrounding the incident are known, but teams likely won’t have much choice.
Was this just one out-of-character incident or a sign of more potential problems to come? That’s the question teams must now try and answer over the next four days.