I wasn't pollyanna enough to think that the NFL would look past Alfonzo Dennard's arrest last weekend and still take him in the second round. He's got major legal questions, and looking at some jail time. At a bare minimum, his availability to play football is in question.
Even bigger are the resulting questions about Dennard's character. Some will look at his slugfest with South Carolina's Alshon Jeffrey in the Capital One Bowl and put two and two together and see a problem with Dennard's temper. I'd look at it the same way.
But for whatever reason, I was shocked to check in on the NFL draft Saturday afternoon to see Dennard still undrafted late in the fifth round. I don't blame the NFL teams for that; I underestimated how the NFL would view the situation. And as the sixth round came and went, I found it even more surprising.
And let's make it clear: Dennard did this all to himself. It's not the NFL's fault at all; they are running a business and teams that waste draft picks on players who can't contribute (or are a liability on and off the field) don't go very far.
Dennard went midway through the seventh round to the New England Patriots; no doubt, Nebraska's connections to Bill Belichick probably opened a door for Dennard. The real question in my mind is how Dennard responds to the message the NFL sent him this weekend. Does he realize how badly he screwed up the week before? Or does he take the "privileged athlete" approach, and view this as a minor setback and proof that he can still do what he wants and still make the NFL?
Gil Brandt said after Dennard's arrest that this would cost him $300,000...my guess is this is going to cost him a whole lot more. I figured he'd be a fourth or fifth round pick, not a seventh round pick. If he keeps his head straight and stays out of trouble, he's a huge bargain pick for the Patriots.
I also hope that everybody on the Nebraska football team was tracking the draft and the lack of interest in Dennard. That's a message that each player needs to keep in mind during their hours away from the program. Warren Buffett has said that it takes twenty years to build a reputation, but only five minutes to destroy it.
Alfonzo Dennard is the latest example of that.