The most recent player to have an extremely uncomfortable draft experience is Alabama Tackle DJ Fluker who recently had a very nasty experience on Twitter. After a very distasteful tweet about accepting money to play at Alabama was sent out on Fluker's Twitter account his agent immediately had to go into damage control mode.
"Yea I took $ n college so wat. I did wat I had to do," Fluker's tweet said. "Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them. Cast da 1st stone."
The first thing said in rebuttal to this was that DJ's twitter account was hacked. This is something that I believe in this case is true. However, the go to move when a player or celebrity says an inappropriate comment in Social Media sites like Twitter is that their account had been hacked. It's the musician Shaggy's favorite tactic of saying "It wasn't me" when caught in a precarious situation.
Many times I do not believe the "my account was hacked" alibi but in this case I do. Why on earth would a player come out of nowhere and say that they took money in college like Fluker's Twitter account would have you believe he did. They wouldn't, especially not in the middle of fighting to be a first round pick in this year's NFL draft.
None the less now Fluker is stuck having to battle this instance and his draft stock could take a hit from it. In this particular case I doubt it will actually effect his draft stock but if somebody hacked his account it was definitely their intention to hurt his draft position. This was probably not done by an NFL representative but it was done by somebody who wanted to hurt DJ because of his stance as a first round draft prospect. Fluker is not the only player this year to go through an uncomfortable pre-draft situation though.
The Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu was extremely perturbed when an assistant coach spoke to the media about what Mathieu had said in his interview about having failed 10 or more drug tests while at LSU. He believed that this was medical information and that it was improper for that coach to speak to the media about what was talked about. Unfortunately for Mathieu that is simply not how the draft process works in the NFL.
When you say something to these coaches you should expect it to get to the media. If its something that could make you fall in the draft and make you cheaper for that team to draft you then of course its beneficial to them to leak the information. Not only will they leak the information, they are eager to. Its a business and the bottom line is money, when they leak that information they create a chance that they can get that player for less money.
Another player that went through a nasty stretch in this draft is a probable top 10 pick in Utah DT Star Loutelie. Star had a scare with his heart appearing to have a defect during the combine physicals which turned out to just be a scare. It appears that Star has rebounded nicely since that combine physical with his possible heart defect being deemed an anomaly due to dehydration but still he immediately saw his draft stock take a hit.
Yet another player to go through some frustrating moments in this draft is Florida DT Shariff Floyd. He has been run through the ringer talking about his past where he had lived with an abusive man who turned out not to be his father. He is also currently fighting back against claims that his arms are too short for the NFL.
Floyd has answered every question thrown at him intelligently and honestly which has only helped his status, but you better believe that some of the questioners were hoping they could get him to slip up and see his draft stock fall. There are a lot of teams in the middle of the 1st round that would have loved to see him slip up and fall to them. Its the nature of the beast.
Are NFL teams wrong for creating this type of environment? Its a tough question to answer. Should they be leaking information specifically just to lower a player's draft status to give them an opportunity to get them? Not from a personal standpoint but from a business stance its hard to fault them for it. They want the player on their team, or they want the player to come at a cheaper price, and they don't care what they have to do to make that happen.
Its funny that many players see this as fans from year to year and yet are shocked when it happens to them, ala Mathieu. This is what the NFL does every year and if you don't want it to happen to you then you better not give them the chance. Mathieu had no choice but to answer whatever questions truthfully but for him to think that those answers wouldn't get out publicly was not realistic.
It might be an uncomfortable process for some prospects but the fact is these teams are about to spend millions of dollars on these players. They want to make sure that they are getting the players that they want and if they can get them at a cheaper price they are happy to do so. There have been too many Jamarcus Russell's in the past to stop these type of tactics. If players don't want to be victim to it then they have to start learning to be more proactive against it.
Whether it be; somebody hacking a twitter account like Fluker is currently going through, a coach leaking info from the interview process like Mathieu's situation, an over reaction to a failed physical like Star Loutelie went through, or countless questions about a difficult past like Floyd has gone through. All of those situations share a common bottom line, everything you do can and will be held against you in the court of the NFL draft.
Some things effect your status and experience even when you had nothing to do with the problem, such as DJ Fluker if he really had nothing to do with that Tweet. Whether it is by somebody outside of the NFL or the very people looking to draft you uncomfortable experiences are going to happen. It's how you respond to them that really matters.