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Weekend Roundup: Drugs tests, draft talk & more

Editor's note: Don't forget to vote in our Pulse of Dolphins Nation poll, which asks which player you most want the Dolphins to draft.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend, whether you celebrate Easter of Passover.  To me, these holidays represent one thing each year - the approaching of the NFL Draft (yeah - I might be a bit too obsessed with football).

Anyways, here's what you might have missed while from this past weekend.

This is something that interests me every year as the draft rolls around - the amazing effects rumors about drug tests and attitudes have on how the NFL Draft plays out.  We saw first hand as Dolphin fans back in 1983 when Dan Marino fell to the Dolphins pick late in the first round amid rumors of cocaine use.  There's even the theory that the Dolphins are the team who started that rumor as they hoped Danny would fall to their pick - the 27th overall.

We've seen it a lot this year.  At various times, we've heard rumors of failed drug tests by top prospects like B.J. Raji, Percy Harvin, Vontae Davis, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews.  And the Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin examines this topic in his latest article - specifically focusing on Florida WR Percy Harvin.

Before we focus specifically on Harvin, though, I think that the idea of these rumors as a whole deserves a quick discussion.  Writes Volin:

First there was the reported score of 12 out of 50 on Harvin's Wonderlic test in February, which measures quick thinking and basic problem solving. Then reported 10 days ago that Harvin and three other players tested positive for marijuana at February's NFL Combine in Indianapolis, though no other outlet has confirmed the report...The reports never will be publicly confirmed by the NFL, but fair or not, the rumors are out there.

Here's the thing about these rumored failed drug tests at the Combine - NFL teams will know the truth by draft day.  We in the public will never learn with 100% reliability whether or not those who were rumored to have failed drug tests really did fail them in February at the Combine.  But the teams will all receive a list of which players did test positive for a banned substance and which particular substance they testes positive for.  So I just don't see how the rumored drug test issues from the Combine really change anything at all in terms of a player's particular draft stock.  By April 25, all 32 NFL teams will know the truth about these rumored tests. 

So those tests really shouldn't be of concern to any of the potential draft picks.  If they know they weren't using any banned substance, then they can rest comfortably because the truth will come out and those who make the decisions will have the facts.

But for Percy Harvin in particular, there have been rumblings for some time now about potential "character issues" that could hurt his draft status.  Ben Volin writes that some believe these rumors are coming out now "following conversations between NFL executives and Florida coach Urban Meyer."  It's pointed out that Meyer hasn't commented publicly on Harvin's rumored failed drug test - unlike the head coaches of Vontae Davis, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews, who have spoken out publicly in defense of their players.  Truth be told, it's certainly interesting that Meyer hasn't said anything.  And if, behind closed doors, Meyer is warning NFL execs about Percy's off-the-field behavior, his stock could certainly plummet.

Volin also writes that there's also a theory out there that the agents of opposing players at the same position as Harvin are spreading these rumors as an attempt to get their client graded out better than Percy and, therefore, drafted earlier.  That could be true.  After all, the higher the agent's client is drafted, the more money the agent receives.

But Harvin has a past that certainly throws up a red flag for teams who are currently considering investing millions into him:

Still, Pro Football Weekly recently polled NFL executives about the riskiest picks in this coming draft and Harvin was selected as the unanimous winner because of "coachability, a posse of hangers-on, his lack of respect for authority and drug usage."

The reports never will be publicly confirmed by the NFL, but fair or not, the rumors are out there. Combine them with Harvin's frequent run-ins with authorities as a high school star in the Virginia Beach area, which resulted in him being removed from high school sports altogether, and suddenly Harvin has gone from a top-10 pick to maybe slipping to the second round.

This highlights the greater ethical question at hand here.  How much should a potential draft pick's past, particularly his days as a high school student, play a role in how NFL teams view them?  Should a prospect's actions as a 17 or 18 year old kid come back to haunt him?

On one hand, potential employers have a right to know as much about a potential employee as possible.  On the other hand, a person is generally much more immature and lacks sound judgment in his decision making when he's a high school kid as opposed to when he is 21 or 22 years old.  How would you feel if you lost out on a higher paying job and were forced to take a lower paying job because of a couple of bad decisions you made when you were in high school? 

It's an interesting dilemma to say the least.  You can easily make valid arguments from both perspectives on this topic.  And it's one topic that is certainly going to become more and more relevant each and every year as the draft approaches - thanks in large part to the internet and how information is circulated in this day and age.

-Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline seems to think that receivers are going to fall in the draft - which is something we've seen occur in the past couple drafts.  Pauline says that Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, and Kenny Britt could all be shut out of round one.

-Barry Jackson reports that the Dolphins are scouting a lot of small-school draft prospects.  But the most interesting nugget from his article is how the Dolphins, who already have spoken with Georgia Tech DE/OLB Michale Johnson twice this offseason recently called him again to ask Johnson about a speeding ticket he had received years ago.  Now that's some thorough scouting right there!

-Bills' safety Donte Whitner was arrested (and tasered) for his part in a "near riot" in front of the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland this past weekend.  Why was Whitner there?  He was attending a birthday party for his former college teammate and current Miami Dolphin - Ted Ginn.  And for those keeping score, that's three Buffalo Bills arrests this offseason...and still none for the Dolphins.  We win again!

-Zach Thomas signed a one year, $2 million deal with the Chiefs.  Good luck to him.  It's great to see Zach not forced into retirement like many thought he might be.