rAccording to a SI.com report, NFL teams were scared away from the prospect of drafting Aaron Hernandez in 2010 because of connections he may have had with gang members in Connecticut.
From Sports Illustrated:
Hernandez fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft in part because of marijuana use while with the Gators, something he admitted to NFL teams at the scouting combine when he was a draft prospect, according to several NFL sources.
Personnel sources from multiple NFL teams tell SI that they had off-field concerns about Hernandez. In particular, the questions pertained to alleged gang activity of some of Hernandez's associates in his native Bristol, Conn. A law enforcement official familiar with Hernandez reiterated concerns about his circle of influence.
Combined, the marijuana use and gang concerns worried some NFL teams immensely.
"There were a lot of teams that had him off the board," said an NFL personnel executive.
The report went on to note that Hernandez has been close to a model citizen since joining the Patriots. He's shown some minor maturity issues, and he has had trouble focusing on the field, but other than that, "he really is a great kid at heart," one former teammate told SI. "He was a great teammate, just loves football. Won't find many guys who practiced harder."
Two of Hernandez's Patriots teammates, one former Patriot and one current Patriot, told SI that they believed Hernandez was seeking distance from past associates in his hometown.
"It was a thug life," is how one teammate described some of Hernandez's friends, according to SI.