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The Curious Case of Dezmon Briscoe

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In the days since last weekend’s 2010 NFL Draft, one of the biggest questions I’ve heard concerning the Kansas University football program was in reference to former wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe.

How could Briscoe have fallen to the sixth round when many believed him to be a first- or second-round talent and a likely second- or third-round pick?

There are a ton of answers here, but let’s focus on the main ones.

First, and quite probably most important, was the fact that Briscoe’s name was attached to the one phrase that can drop a guy faster than anything in these types of drafts: off-the-field issues. Although Briscoe was largely a good dude during his career at KU, he had a handful of incidents on his resume that caused NFL GMs to throw up the red flag.

For starters, there was a charge for shoplifting in 2007 followed by problems attending class and a suspension or two for violating team rules. No big deal at the time and certainly nothing that stood in the way of him becoming a record-setting wide receiver and one of the best the school ever had seen.

But just because your coaches and teammates can move past those issues doesn’t mean they disappear. It’s kind of like that speeding ticket you got several months ago. You haven’t sped since — or at least haven’t been pulled over for it — but that doesn’t mean you’re not still paying for it via the old insurance bill.

In today’s NFL, one which new commissioner Roger Goodell rules with an iron fist and an unforgiving mind, those things just aren’t worth the gamble. Why would a team pick a player with character questions when other, sometimes equally qualified players project a better image for the franchise?

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Just look at the latest line of “characters” that have felt Goodell’s wrath: Pacman Jones, suspended for an entire season; Brandon Marshall, suspended for several games and under review multiple times; Ben Roethlisberger, not even convicted of a crime yet still suspended six games by the league and facing his possible departure from Pittsburgh.

Goodell’s message has been spelled out in no uncertain terms. The recent draft, with the fall of guys like Briscoe and Dez Bryant and the rise of guys like Tim Tebow, illustrates that the message is being received by NFL franchises loud and clear.

Besides that, many of you may remember that Briscoe didn’t exactly do himself any favors during the pre-draft workouts. He struggled at the combine with speed and strength and did a less-than-stellar job of marketing himself, which is what it takes these days — like it or not.

I was around Briscoe on and off for the past two years and I always enjoyed my encounters with him. He was fun to talk to, a little on the quiet side but pretty pleasant once you got him going. He always respected the media and rarely seemed annoyed with any of the questions he was asked, no matter how ridiculous. That’s when he was there.

Briscoe also routinely skipped out on the weekly media sessions and was next to impossible to get ahold of the week of the draft, including draft day. So was his agent. It’s my belief that these things cost Briscoe more than either one of them probably thought they would.

I know Briscoe is confident in his abilities. And he should be. But when things turn from game to business it takes a lot more than catching everything that comes your way and scoring touchdowns on a regular basis to make it. It takes charisma, it takes compromise and it takes the understanding that a little give here — even if it’s phony — can go a long way later.

Maybe all this will work out in Briscoe’s favor. I mean, he is going to the Cincinnati Bengals, who have a franchise QB, Carson Palmer, and an incredible veteran receiver in Chad Ochocinco for the Dallas native to learn from. If Briscoe were taken in the second round he may have entered the league with a little too much swagger and expected things to be easy, to be handed to him because of his status as an early-round pick. But now, as a sixth-rounder, he’s going to have to earn everything he gets.

Briscoe’s always been best when driven by a little adversity. Even though a little song and dance along the way might have moved him up the draft board, falling to 191st overall could be the best thing to have happened to him.

Former teammate Kerry Meier said it best, when asked to size up his former teammate a little more than a month ago: “Any time you can get him involved with and around football, you’re going to find good things,” Meier said. “He just needs to stay around football and ultimately stay focused on the task at hand and concentrate on being the best football player he can be.”

Game on.

;

Comments

Jeffery Barrett 4 years, 5 months ago

Outstanding article, Matt! I did not know many of the things you mentioned. I have been wondering what the real reasons he wasn't drafted higher were. Besides his slow 40 time. Thanks for the info and keep up the good work!

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 5 months ago

He's got his foot in the door. Now the team can see how truly gifted he is as a receiver. He's such a talented football player, and I expect him to do well.

mphawk27 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm excited for Dez. His favorite player is Larry Fitz in Arizona and although he was hoping to go there to learn the craft from one of the best, I think he was pretty fortunate to land in Cincinatti. Although Ocho Cinco is flashier than Fitz, he is still one of the top five receivers in the league and should be a great mentor to help Dez grow as a receiver. Can't wait to see him out there setting new records!

hawksince51 4 years, 5 months ago

Agree--fumbles and the old saying "you can't teach speed." Huge difference between college and pro pass coverage.

Steve Brown 4 years, 5 months ago

the two fumbles at 2:49 left in game at Arrowhead are crucial as either one would have won the game, and then his tweat or quote that Talib told him just stay healthy, one more game and 'cash it in'. Nothing about just go win a game and catch what is thrown your direction.... that he listend to Talib and that he quoted him spoke volumes.

Same as in business hire/draft behavior & character - teach skills.

Pbbut 4 years, 5 months ago

Good article. You could see this up and down the draft this year. I don't think it's an accident that Goodell had Big Ben's ruling out before the draft, it was also served as a message to the teams.
Does anyone think this might have an impact on the number of kids leaving early? NFL General Managers may be looking at a maturity issue and slow down on these underclassmen declaring.

ebizzle 4 years, 5 months ago

That photo is freaking awesome.

Can I order that?

Matt Tait 4 years, 5 months ago

ebizzle...

Here's the link to the photo. http://www2.kusports.com/photos/2008/oct/11/156866/

At the bottom (in a gray bar) is a link that says "Buy a print of this photo."

For the record, I agree that it's an awesome pic!!! Enjoy!

KUFan90 4 years, 5 months ago

It is a sweet pic...obviously taken in the first half, since there are still fans in the stands...

tical523 4 years, 5 months ago

yea, i hope that Jayhawk in the background is pulling touchdowns this year

jhox 4 years, 5 months ago

I believe Briscoe is one of those guys whose football ability defies his 40 times and bench press stats. He did have a bit of an inconsistent year, with occassional dropped passes like we hadn't seen previously, but the guy can play. I hope he gets a chance to prove it with the Bengals.

I wish the Chiefs had taken a late round chance on either Briscoe or Meier. They both have better hands than any of the current Chiefs' receivers.

Atlanta is going to be very happy with Meier. I've always thought if he could add 20 or 30 lbs., he would make a heck of a tight end. He's a good blocker, and has much better speed than he was given credit for. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in that sort of role as his body matures more in the next few years. I believe he could be an elite tight end if he could could just add a few pounds, and I believe he has the body type which would make it possible to do that.

Sparko 4 years, 5 months ago

Jhox: my sentiments exactly. And the Chiefs drafted a kid in the second round who is not as good as Sharp. The Chiefs. sigh.

milehighhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

not as good as Sharp?

Not a knock on ol' Jake, but MIGHTY BIG LOL on that one.

rastameta 4 years, 5 months ago

There is straight line speed, which the 40 measures and then there is football speed and Briscoe has above average football speed. He plays fast on the field.

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