Pre-NFL Draft arrest watch

Updating the big board
By MATT TAIBBI  |  April 12, 2006

Stolen goods, weapons possession, extreme DUI, assault, drugs, and sexual assault: the rap sheet of the draft class of '06Get ready, Phoenix readers, for the dad-gum funnest week of the sports-crime year! I’m talking about the week before the NFL draft (April 29 in New York City). Traditionally, this is the time of the most inexcusable, most stone-headed, most consequential sports arrests of the year — known as “Justin Miller arrests” in the business, so named after the highly touted Clemson cornerback who got tagged with disorderly conduct and “noise violation” arrests just prior to last year’s draft. (Miller, considered a sure first rounder, plummeted to 57th in the draft — a fall that cost him millions of dollars).

You see, it’s one thing to get arrested for ripping off a few car mirrors or punching your girlfriend when it’s just a humdrum drunken weekend night in the October of your redshirt year. But it’s a completely different thing to commit crazed drunken crimes when 32 scouts representing every NFL team are sitting on your porch, stopwatches in hand, timing your sprint from the dorm fire escape to the sheriff’s cruiser.

This year’s NFL draft includes numerous accused sexual batterers and drug offenders, but in a move that can only be described as humorous, ESPN.com’s draft analysis lists only two draft candidates — Notre Dame receiver Maurice Stovall and Oregon tight end Tim Day — as “character” concerns. Their crimes? Neither is considered aggressive enough for the NFL.

So, who’ll it be this year? Here’s the shortlist of the most arrest-prone draft studs:

1)Marcus Vick, QB, Virginia Tech: The high-profile brother of scatter-armed Falcons star Michael Vick is probably the best bet to implode under pressure: any man who can pull a gun on three teenagers in the parking lot of a McDonald’s three days after being kicked off his college team has definitely got the right stuff for a draft-week arrest.

2)Claude Wroten, DT, LSU: The massive tackle is this draft’s Most Likely to Smoke a Fattie. Has been busted for marijuana possession, but otherwise the giant two-gap defender looks very much like a future New England Patriot.

3)Scott Paxson, DT, Penn State: This sad sack, a Philly kid, was busted in December after meeting a girl online (facebook.com) who subsequently accused him of forcing himself on her. Paxson vehemently denies the charge and claims he is being set up. Unlike most jocks in his predicament, he sounds credible.

4)Reuben Houston, RB, Georgia Tech: Houston is the winner of this year’s Nate Newton award, having been sentenced to nine months of probation for his role in the distribution of 92 pounds of marijuana. Unfortunately, he only ran in the 4.6 range in workouts, meaning he’s a late rounder at best.

5)Manase Hopoi, DE, Washington: Another in a long line of hyperaggressive Pacific Coast Samoan prospects with violent rap sheets (see: Zach Tuiasosopo), Hopoi belted a security guard a few years ago.

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