Every year, a talented player begins to slip on draft night and people on the outside begin to wonder why.
Generally, it’s because the people on the inside are privy to information about character or injury concerns that aren’t widely known to the general public.
That was the case last year with Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (a top-five talent who slid to the back of the first round and has since been arrested for three felony counts of domestic violence). But according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, there doesn’t appear to be a case that dramatic this year, though there are some top prospects who have tried to state their cases with teams.
One example is Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes. He has told teams that he reason he left North Carolina two years ago was a sexual assault allegation that did not lead to criminal charges.
Considering the current climate, teams are reasonably concerned about that, but the consensus seems to be that teams believe Hughes’ version of events. That doesn’t there won’t be an outcry if his accuser comes forward, but he’s getting in front of the story by telling his side.
Hughes told Pelissero that he has text messages and a female witness to validate his version. There were no charges filed because of insufficient evidence. There was an initial Title IX hearing at UNC about the case, after which he decided it was in his best interest to change scenery, going to a junior college and then Central Florida.
“Obviously, I have to tell them everything that happened and everything that went into why I left and also what I’ve learned from it,” Hughes said. “What I tell teams is that they won’t have any issues with me if they draft me. I haven’t had any problems with the law or anything since I was at North Carolina.”
He did serve a one-game suspension in 2015 for a misdemeanor assault charge (which was dropped after he did community service).
Hughes is generally considered to be a late-first to early-second-round prospect, and it will be interesting to see how the revelation changes that, if at all.