Good morning, Buffalo Rumblings!
In the spirit of the NFL Combine, I decided to discuss a topic that I hardly ever touch upon: the NFL Draft. But you all know me, I'm not going to give you a mock draft or predict who's going where and why, because I'd rather do something a little more controversial and entertaining. That's why today's Joe! will be about Pro Football Weekly senior editor and current NFL Media analyst Nolan Nawrocki.
For those of you who don't know or remember who Nawrocki is, he's the guy that notoriously slams NFL pro prospects for their indiscretions on and off the field. He's the guy that not only evaluates players' 40 times, but also their character. If you remember, he's the guy that in 2011 wrote this well-documented assessment of then Auburn quarterback Cam Newton:
"Very disingenuous - has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law - does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. Only a one-year producer. Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness - is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable".
Which caused this reaction from Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon:
"A lot of the criticism he’s receiving is unfortunate and racially based," Moon told Freeman. "I thought we were all past this. I don’t see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony. He’s being held to different standards from white quarterbacks. I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we’re not."
Which caused this response from Nawrocki:
"I think it’s absurd," Nawrocki said. "I mean, anybody that is familiar with the publication, you can go back and look at what was said about [Notre Dame quarterback] Jimmy Clausen. It was some of the same things. He came across as very scripted and disingenuous in interviews. . . . We treat every player the same. We’re just trying to get to the end result. . . . Evaluate the character and get the evaluation right. I think the best evaluators in the NFL are colorblind in their assessments, and we treat it the same way. We’re not trying to take shots at anybody. It’s all about getting the evaluations right."
Nawrocki's assessments didn't stop there. In 2013, he wrote this about West Virginia product Geno Smith:
"Not a student of the game. Nonchalant field presence - does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor - no urgency. Not committed or focused - marginal work ethic. Interviewed poorly at the Combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board. Opted not to compete at the Senior Bowl and has approached off season training as if he has already arrived and it shows in his body with minimal muscle definition or strength. Has small hands and glaring ball security issues (32 career fumbles). Really struggled handling the snow in Pinstripe Bowl (took two safeties) and will be troubled by the elements. Needed to be coddled in college - cannot handle hard coaching."
Do you remember Nawrocki now?
"Okay Kent, I remember, but this happened years ago. Why are you bringing this up again?" Well folks, because Nawrocki is back at it again. This time he has 10 guys in his cross hairs. Last week on the NFL.com, he posted a list of 10 prospects in this year's drat that could potentially be red-flagged by teams. Once again, his analysis is under much scrutiny, as some are calling it racist, ill-willed, mean spirited, and attempt to sabotage the careers of these NFL Draft prospects.
Usually I go off on a rant and force my opinion on to you all, but this time I'm just going to give you the facts and let you develop your own. I do however need to frame the discussion in away to promote feedback in the comment section.
So click here for his review of the 10 prospects, and when you're done, answer these questions:
- Do you think Nawrocki review of the black athletes are racially motivated?
- Is the tone he takes and/or the words that he use (i.e lazy) an example of racial coding?
- Do you agree with the manner in which he assesses these NFL prospects?
- What was your immediate reaction while reading some of these evaluations?
- Do you think this is character assassination?
- Do you think Nawrocki can be sued for slander, defamation, or libel?
Okay Rumblers, have at it. I put the ball on the tee for you, so swing away. I'll try my hardest not to input my opinion in this one, but I can always be baited.
For questions, comments, and topic suggestions for my posts, contact me at AskDoctork44@gmail.com or contact and follow me on Twitter @Doctork44.