Dennard already guilty of first-degree dumb

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Dennard already guilty of first-degree dumb

FOXBORO -- For every draftable player, the time comes when his talent makes him worth the risk.

Some guys bring almost no risk and a world of talent. The cost to get that guy? High.. See: Luck, Andrew, No. 1 overall.

Others have talent but risky lurks. Could be health, level of competition, size or punching a cop. Teams pay a lot less for those players. See Dennard, Alfonzo, No. 224 overall.

Dennard was in jail as recently as last Monday, three days before the first round of the NFL Draft.

The first round was where the most optimistic predictions had Dennard being selected as recently as January.

But back to the part about the jail. According to Jon Nyatawa's story in Monday's Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald which quoted a Lincoln, Nebraska police affidavit, Dennard was twice told by police to leave downtown Lincoln as Friday night was turning to Saturday morning.

When officers next observed him, he was walking in a crosswalk, bumping and punching a "22-year-old." Having already been involved in two verbal arguments outside the Hour Lounge that police allegedly witnessed, the cops stepped in to place Dennard in custody. Dennard allegedly pushed and punched. It took four officers to arrest Dennard who was "cited on suspicion of third-degree assault of an officer, resisting arrest and third-degree assault."

A little leeway can sometimes be given to a guy in a dustup, especially when the details are murky. Who knows what was said or done previously? Was a girlfriend's honor besmirched? Were the police overaggressive? Was there a misunderstanding? Sometimes things happen all in a flash.

But when the official report says a guy was asked TWICE to leave an area and he's next seen bopping someone in the chest while crossing the street, that guy has to explain why he was too stupid to just leave in the first place.

Additionally, the punching of the law enforcement is a pretty bad look as well.

And some NFL teams won't even care about the explanation. Third-degree assault on a cop days before the draft is first-degree dumb.

The fact 223 names were called before his announced that reality.

Fortunately for Dennard, the talent he possesses and the risk of potentially hiring him intersected with the Patriots on the board at 224.

"Obviously the incident affected his draft position but certainly were aware of it," Bill Belichick explained. "We researched it, we found out as much as we could about it. Obviously, as an organization were comfortable making the selection where we did."

Seventh round. Hell, the Patriots hired a special teams ace who's played more rugby that football before they took a flier on Dennard. Where he was selected announces to Dennard: "Be good or be gone."

The Patriots did the same risk-management dance last year with a pair of picks. First, they selected Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett - a first-round talent - in the third round. Rumors of excessive partying and possible drug use drove him down the board until he was far-and-away the best guy there.

Marcus Cannon, was a fifth-round selection. He dropped from being a second-round projection when doctors discovered just before the draft he had non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. A far different situation that Dennard's or Mallett's but, obviously, a risk still.

Belichick was asked how far Dennard was moved down the board when last weekend's events came to light.

"It works the same with every player," said Belichick. "You get the information that you have. If you get new information, you add to it and when it comes time to make decisions, you talk about all the information you have and put it all together and figure out what you feel like your best option is and what the best value is for your team."

The word value is an important one here because Dennard is a good player. At 5-10, 204, he worked out for Bill Belichick in March. The head coach came away impressed.

"Hes strong. Hes a physical player," said Belichick. "Obviously he played at a high level of competition, particularly in the 2010 season where they played so much in the passing conference (The Big 12) a lot of spread out offenses, a lot of nickel, dime coverage and that type of thing.

"Then this year, when Nebraska went to the Big Ten, they saw really a whole different schedule, a whole different style of offensive football from those teams that they played so it was interesting to watch all that," said Belichick. "I think you can really see him play against or anybody from Nebraska for that matter, whether it was Lavonte David or Alfonzo, whoever it is see them play against two different years, really two different style of offense. Hes gone up against a lot of good players and competed well."

If Alfonzo Dennard is seen rolling around on the sidewalk outside Toby Keith's Bar anytime in the next couple of years, it won't matter how versatile, tough and strong he seems on the football field.

He will almost certainly be dismissed like the garden-variety seventh-round pick he unfortunately turned himself into.

But if what happened in Lincoln was just a really bad Friday night at the worst possible time, then maybe the Patriots have a player on their hands. And maybe Dennard can get back a little of what he lost since last week both in money and - more importantly - reputation.

Dennard wasn't available to talk to the media Saturday night. That is the rarest of occurrences at the draft but his situation is exceptional.

Whatever the courts ultimately rule, Dennard's already been found guilty of dumb and penalized tens of thousands by the NFL.

He's just lucky talent and risk finally intersected before the end of the draft.

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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