10 NFL Rookies With Most To Gain From NFL Rookie Symposium
2013 NFL Rookie Draft Class
254 rookies and undrafted free agents will be invading Northeast Ohio, where their toughest lessons will be given to them in an air-conditioned conference room with no pads or playbooks in sight at the 2013 NFL Rookie Symposium. Since high school, many of these finally tuned athletes have striven to make it to the NFL, and now that they are here, the real work begins.
Although several rookie prospects will attend this weekend's events will little worries about their future, several promising rookies must play close attention or else their time in the NFL will be short-lived. For years, these unique specimens have been able to thrive by solely relying on everything below the neck, but their mental approach to the game will ultimately dictate their longevity as a professional football player in the NFL.
Throughout the NFL, there are tales of misfortune and glory by players who either squandered their opportunity or turned a camp invite into a long and fruitful career in the NFL. It has been said that for each star uncovered in the league, there is an endless list of players with far more talent who fell short.
When it was reported that Adam Pacman Jones and Maurice Clarett were going to be speakers at this year’s symposium, the news did not sit well with everyone. But their stories of success mired in drugs and incarceration are probably the best messages a number of talented rookies would need to hear to deter them from falling victim to similar troubles. Several NFL franchises have invested millions in rookies with red flags and character concerns. Let's look at 10 players who have the most to gain at the NFL Rookie Symposium.
No. 10: William Gholston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For three seasons, William Gholston has teased fans in East Lansing as well as NFL scouts with his jaw-dropping measurables and impressive physique. Despite possessing first-round talent, Gholston's frequent bouts with immaturity and poor decision making prevented him from fulfilling his tremendous promise.
There is no place in the NFL for tantrums, twisting the neck of an opposing quarterback or punching a teammate in practice. If Gholston can finally get his head to do what his body is surely capable of, the chances of him fulfilling his tremendous potential is promising.
No. 9: Bacarri Rambo, Washington Redskins
Bacarri Rambo was initially projected as a surefire first-round pick, but his stock took a huge hit and it was not because of his play on the field. Rambo had collected his fair share preseason accolades, but off-the-field issues and poor decisions resulted in him dropping to the sixth round.
The Washington Redskins have a glaring need for secondary help, and if Rambo has finally matured and overcome his struggles with drugs, the starting safety spot is his for the taking. Several promising players have squandered an NFL opportunity; the Redskins hope Rambo will be receptive to lessons and stories of regret and failure at the Rookie Symposium.
No. 8: Tyler Bray, Kansas City Chiefs
Based on arm talent alone Tyler Bray had very few peers who rivaled him in the 2013 NFL Draft. However, poor decision and frequent bouts of immaturity resulted in Bray going undrafted.
Bray got the dreadful Ryan Leaf label, which caused several franchises to take him off their draft board completely. However, all is not lost under the watchful eye of the quarterback whisper, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
Hopefully Bray will listen closely to the words of former quarterbackChad Pennington, who found success in the NFL despite not having Bray's skill, talent or arm strength. Reid will help Bray with his decision making on the field, but its up to Bray to man up and not squander his talent.
No. 7: Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks
Christine Michael has first-round talent that was not indicative of where he was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Despite his unquestioned talent, his failures to comply with Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin led to him being suspended and missing considerable playing time at College Station by being in the coach's doghouse.
Talent may have gotten Michael drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, but if he continues to walk his own path, his time in the NFL will be short-lived. Although Michael will not be relied upon to contribute, how he handles being third on the depth chart will ultimately determine his future in Seattle. If Michael is receptive to the speakers at the Rookie Symposium, he may not only be the steal of the draft but also may have a future as the starting running back in 2014.
No. 6: Sam Montgomery, Houston Texans
For three seasons, Sam Montgomery has been surrounded by premiere talent in Baton Rouge. Although Montgomery possessed similar abilities to dominate like his teammates, his mindset, not his talent, resulted in his slide down draft boards.
No one contested Montgomery's talent on the gridiron, but many franchises questioned if he could be trusted. After an impressive sophomore campaign, Montgomery failed to improve, which made many question if Montgomery had peaked. Blessed with the ability to a game changer, the Houston Texans are hopeful that Montgomery puts it all together, finally overcomes his mental deficiencies and fulfills his potential.
No. 5: Da' Rick Rogers, Buffalo Bills
Whenever you are selected first-team All-SEC, it is presumed that you will likely have a promising career in the NFL. The path to a first-round handshake with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemed like a forgone conclusion, but Da'Rick Rogers squandered this opportunity.
Due to a failed drug test and frequent clashes with his coaches, Rogers went undrafted despite his immense talent. The Buffalo Bills took a flier on this promising talent, but only Rogers can determine if his troubled past is truly behind him. The Rookie Symposium will provide an excellent opportunity for Rogers to see the errors of former players who allowed drugs and poor decisions to control them resulting in suspensions and a pink slip out of the NFL.
No. 4: Alec Ogletree, St. Louis Rams
Alec Ogletree has been a magnet for trouble since stepping foot on the University of Georgia. His jaw-dropping tackles and versatility may have been too much for the St. Louis Rams to ignore, but his red flags still cost him millions.
Although Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has a history with prospects with red flags, it will be up to Ogletree to mature and resist the urge of alcohol and drugs. If Ogletree is receptive to the workshops at the Rookie Symposium, the Rams may have uncovered the steal of the draft for the second year in a row. From the neck down Ogletree has few equals; if he finally puts his past behind him, then he is my dark horse player for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
No. 3: Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
Kennan Allen was projected by most pundits to be the first wide receiver selected in the draft, but due to a trail of misfortune, injuries and poor decision making, his draft stock plummeted.
Allen failed his drug test at the combine and ran a pedestrian time at his private workouts. Although Allen had no history of drug use during his time in Berkley, his inability to say no to the canibus before the biggest job interview of his professional career brings his intelligence into question.
Allen may look the part of a NFL wide receiver, but it will be up too him to approach his opportunity with the San Diego Chargers seriously by committing himself to rehabbing his knee and memorizing his playbook. The NFL is littered with has beens that are no longer in the league. The Chargers are hopeful that the Rookie Symposium knocks some sense into this promising prospect.
No. 2: Geno Smith, New York Jets
Geno Smith's draft stock plummeted, and it appears that the impressions made upon scouts and talent evaluators may have been the reason. Smith is a long way from Morgantown now as he finds himself in New York, the biggest media market in the United States.
Smith has already made several questionable comments since being selected by the New York Jets, and it will be in his best interest to listen to the words of former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington at the Rookie Symposium. No one will doubt Smith's talent, but his maturity leaves a lot to be desired. How he responds under duress not just from pass rushers but from the media will determine his success with the Jets.
No. 1: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals
Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu has tantalized the nation with his abilities in college football's premiere conference, leaving little to question about his talents on the gridiron. However, his inability to make the best decisions led to his dismissal from LSU and his slide to the third round in the NFL Draft.
Mathieu's much-publicized fall from grace due to drug abuse did not deter the Arizona Cardinals from taking him off their draft board. The NFL Rookie Symposium was made for players just like Mathieu and it will be up to him to capitalize on this second chance because he is unlikely to get a third.
Mathieu has already turned heads on the practice field, and the Cardinals hope that with their continued support as well as help from ex-players at the symposium that he will overcome his drug addiction and fulfill his promise in the NFL