'Somebody will take a shot at him at someplace'
Editor's Note: Maurice Clarett says he came forward with his allegations against Ohio State so he could tell his side of the story and possibly raise his stature among NFL general managers who questioned his character. So we asked a current GM to give us his take on Clarett, character and all. In it, Clarett doesn't sound so different from other young athletes; he also sounds like a guy who won't be playing for our anonymous GM's team.
A follower. Immature. Irresponsible. Spoiled from junior high school on. Doesn't feel any accountability to anything. Everything should be given to him.
Scouts, Inc. on Clarett
Strengths: Has good size and power as an inside runner. He lowers his shoulder, creates his own running room and pushes the pile in short-yardage situations. He has impressive vision and patience, allowing him to find backside creases and exploit defenses for over-pursuing him. Most impressive asset is his burst through the hole. Few running backs, even in the NFL, match his ability to get through small creases in the line. Once through the hole, his ability to bounce outside and accelerate is uncanny. He is a smooth route runner with very good awareness in the short-passing game. Shows soft hands and the ability to adjust to the poorly thrown ball. Will snatch on the run and does a nice job of getting upfield right away. Is technically sound, aware and physical as a blocker. Is surprisingly efficient in this area for such an inexperienced player. Shows lateral movement skills to pick up the blitz. Shows good leverage at the point of attack and has good initial pop.
Weaknesses: Character and maturity are major concerns. Has adequate but not great speed. Has enough speed to turn the corner from time to time in the NFL, but is a better inside runner. Is not overly elusive in space and won't make a lot of defenders miss. Is not a huge matchup threat as a receiver. Does not have elite speed and is not the type of back you split out in order to create mismatches. He has not taken a lot of shots to his body, but durability is still very much a concern. He really struggled to stay healthy in his only full season at OSU. Missed three games and most of two others with knee and shoulder ailments. Has not proven capable of handling the full load as a premier back.
Bottom line: Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns in his lone collegiate season in 2002. His talent is tough to deny. He has a very good combination of size, speed, burst, vision, change of direction skills and patience as a runner. Clarett also has the potential to be an every-down back, assuming he has the durability to do so. He can't create passing-game matchup problems like the Rams' Marshall Faulk and the Chiefs' Priest Holmes can, but he is a receiving threat. Clarett is similar to the Colts' Edgerrin James in the sense that he catches the ball smoothly and is tough to bring down in the open field because of his size and burst. He also can be an outstanding blocker on blitz-pickup situations. However, while Clarett has the talent and potential to develop into a starting running back in the NFL, his road will be extremely tough. He is inexperienced after playing just one season for the Buckeyes and will have missed more than two full years. He has major off-the-field issues, as well as character and durability concerns. In our opinion, he's a late-first- or second-round talent who, as a result of all of the question marks surrounding him as a player and person, will more than likely slip to Day 2.
Not a great work ethic. I don't remember what he ran in the spring. I think he's a 4.6 guy. I thought off the tape the guy was a good runner, but not a speed guy. Probably a second-round ability guy. There ended up being some medical issues with the guy, too.
So I know we had some issues about that. In the end, we weren't going to bother with the kid. Too much baggage. Now it's totally on his shoulders to come and go work out.
The lawsuit [against the NFL] in itself, that wouldn't bother me. What bothers me is the guy thinking he's good enough to play when he's got all these other issues. And here's the thing on the injury-prone. This guy, I don't think, has ever played a full season in high school or college without missing time. So here's a guy, durability's a question on him. Work ethic is a question on the guy. So those are two big questions.
The AD (Andy Geiger) did not like Clarett, for whatever reason. They thought he was always going to have a problem getting eligible again ... I didn't talk to Tressel about him, but I talked to some of the [coaching] staff there, and they were more positive than negative on the kid, really. Yeah. They were more positive than negative on the kid. Saying he really isn't a bad kid. That he was a hell of a worker. But there's just a lot of stuff there when you come down to it. There's the injury-prone issue. The work habits on the guy. All this stuff about being a follower, and never having to work for things and it just starts adding up after a while.
I know the guy was spoiled the whole way through. In high school. Just not having the good sense to be able to say no to things maybe.
Him being out of football, you can argue that two years he saved his body. But he's gonna be rusty as hell&I just think he's got a belief he's a lot better than he is.
The highest the guy goes is the second round, and the lowest could be probably the fourth round. Fifth round maybe. Somebody will take a shot at him at someplace.
But when get down to it, there's a lot more questions about this guy. I just remember in the spring, we took him off the board. We're just not going to bother with all this stuff.
This is all opinions. This is all opinions. But, for us, we don't bother with issues like this. Let's move on to the next guy. Because there's a durability issue here that probably is the single most important question. This guy's never played a full season. At any level. High school or college. So, as a running back, with his style, who's a physical runner. This guy takes hits. I don't know if that's a positive.
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