Quick Friday Editorial: LeGarrette Blount and the Ruskell Code

A week and a half ago, John brought up an open thread for the public lusting after college running backs. Not only were we all looking at backs that caught our fancy, but:

So to head off every thread devolving into fantasy GMing and rosterbation, here's a few 2010 prospects, passed through the Ruskell sieve, to enjoy on this autumn day of August.

Blount was brought up fairly quickly, but he was almost immediately dismissed by a certain someone for his track record, which was dubious enough to wilt under the heat of the Ruskell Code. The point of this isn't to toot John's horn, although the timing is hilarious. Unless you don't own a television, computer (demonstrably false), or newspaper subscription, then you probably know that LeGarrette Blount punched a Boise State player on the field after last night's loss for the Ducks. He has now been suspended for the entirety of the year, ending his career at Oregon and possibly his career as a football player. 

Each year around draft time, there's usually a bit of teeth-gnashing about the players that Tim Ruskell doesn't bother drafting, namely those with any bit of red flaggery in their background. Sure, not every college kid who urinates on a parked car will go all Maurice Clarett and start their own mobile militia. We forget, however, just the magnitude of the investment in these players. Blount came into the season with a scholarship and likely the majority of carries for an Oregon team trying to contend for a Pac 10 Title. Investing a good deal of their trust in a particular player, Oregon was let down.

Just as the level of competition ratchets up with the jump to the NFL, so too does the magnitude of the investment in players. Rosters are smaller and salaries are immense. When thinking about draft-worthy players, we tend to consider the inherent risk of failure to develop or the risk of serious injury. We need to remember to add in the risk of immature or unstable character . It's nice to marvel at the potential of players like Blount, but last night we saw the bottom face of that sort of coin flip. 

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