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Cowboys Draft '10, Part Eighteen: Smoke Signals of a Different Type

CNNSi's Don Banks writes today of a "marijuana epidemic" sweeping the 2010 draft class.  He quotes an NFL personnel man who claims,

...10 or 11 players who carry first-round draft grades on [his] board this year have been red-flagged for marijuana use in college, an estimate echoed by two clubs' head coaches. Another NFL head coach estimated that "one-third'' of the players on his club's draft board had some sort of history with marijuana use and would thus require an extra level of evaluation as part of the pre-draft scouting process.

Where does this put Dallas?  I've looked into the matter and have little but circumstantial points to attempt to connect.  I've been told the team did remove players from its draft board in the Parcells Era for drug problems.  This makes sense, after the team was troubled by high draft picks like Quincy Carter and Kareem Larrimore who had substance abuse problems.  Two years ago, I heard Jerry Jones explain to the press that Dallas' decision to give Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson second chances was aided by the fact that neither's personal issues involved drugs.

This suggests that Dallas had a rather stringent drug policy in place.  Perhaps not a zero tolerance, but what we may call a "little-tolerance" policy.

Conversely, former player and current team advisor Calvin Hill told me that Jones possesses a very forgiving quality and that Jerry's tolerance and compassion drew Hill back to the organization.  Here's Calvin's statement, for by old "Sports Doctors" radio show:

Calvin Hill on Jerry's Compassion

Can we conclude from these points that the Cowboys are dropping prospects by the bushel for their smoking habits?  Hardly.   A source told me the team takes prospects on a case-by-base basis.  Furthermore, Banks' piece notes that the 10-to11 first rounders were red-flagged by their colleges.  This is not the same as failing the drug tests which are administered at the Indy Combine.  The same source told me the team would be likely to ding a player who failed his test there.

This also makes some sense;  the Combine represents a league-wide job interview and any player who tests positive there demonstrates a blatant disregard for the process.  It's the same as showing up out of shape or not showing up at all.  It calls the player's seriousness, maturity and dependability into question.

How many of the 10-to-11 fall into that category?  I doubt any team would tell. 

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