Originally written on The Lady Sportswriter  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Photo Credit: John Kelley I'd be the first to admit that trying to judge the decision-making processes of a young adult who has very little life-experience and a whole lot of growing up still left to do is a bit like playing Russian roulette. However, the first thought that raced through my mind when I read about Orson Charles being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is what the hell were you thinking!!!

Charles certainly didn't need this latest misstep leading into the final weeks before the draft. He was already receiving his fair share of criticism from the so-called experts of the NFL for his lack of size, questionable blocking proficiency, decision not to run the 40 at the NFL Combine and being a part of a tight end class that has already been dismissed as one of the worst in recent memory.

That said, no one could deny Charles' potential. Even with the aforementioned concerns, he was considered to be an athlete with a tremendous amount of upside and appeared to be the guy who, if drafted into the proper situation, could pay huge dividends in the near future. But now he'll be, and likely unfairly, questioned about his character.

It won't matter that he's been an upstanding young man his whole life, a mentor to his teammates, an asset to his community, or that he's always conducted himself in the most respectable manner. When millions of dollars is concerned, no one cares what you did in the past, you will only be judged by what you've done in the present.

And receiving a DUI, less than a month before the draft, won't be considered the most intelligent decision Charles ever made.

How will this effect his draft status, it's hard to say for sure as, if you believe what you read in some places, he was already on the decline long before this most recent mishap.
...Monday at Georgia, many scouts were hoping to see a strong workout by tight end Orson Charles. There were some who felt that Charles may have been the best tight end in the Draft. Not anymore! Charles’ day was average at best. He measured 6024 and 250, did a 30.5’ vertical jump and a 9’5 long jump. Scouts usually only give athletes two chances at both the vertical and the long jump but in this case they gave Charles three because his first two jumps in both events were so poor.

In the vertical jump he was less than 30’’ on each of his first two tries and in the long jump he was less than 9 feet. When they went outside to run, because of the wind conditions, players had to run the 40 both with the wind and against. Charles' time with the wind (said to be 20 mph) was 4.75. Against the wind he ran a swift 4.99. Average them out and you get 4.87…hardly first tight end to be drafted speed! His 20-shuttle and 3 cone times were also very average. In the 20 shuttle he ran a 4.44 and in the 3 cone he did 7.48. Scouts needed to explain the drills over and over to him before he understood what to do. Based on his workout, Charles' stock will drop and with no Combine workout to compare it to he may fall to the middle rounds. I know some scouts feel he is no better than a 4th or 5th round pick at this time. (Greg Gabriel, "The importance of Pro Days", National Football Post, 3/7, 2012)

So if Charles was dropping into the middle rounds based solely on his Combine and Pro Day performances, where will his arrest place him?

That will greatly depend on how those teams considering him feel about his inability to avoid trouble this close to the draft. If they're willing to overlook this transgression as a one-time act by a player who is still likely reeling from his inability to perform at the level he's accustomed—on such a large stage with so much at stake—then he may be able to withstand the storm.

However, with no more opportunities left for him to let his play do the talking, this may be the last impression most scouts and GM's are left with and that can't be a good thing for Charles.

"For NFL teams, the question will now be this: If Charles can’t stay out of trouble during the couple of months before the draft, when he knows he’s being closely scrutinized by the NFL world, will he be able to stay out of trouble after he’s drafted?" (Michael David Smith, "Orson Charles, top tight end NFL prospect, arrested for DUI", Pro Football Talk, 3/9/2012)

I wish the best for Orson, but he has certainly dug quite a hole for himself in this case.

Related articles
  • Orson Charles, top tight end NFL draft prospect, arrested for DUI (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
  • Former Georgia tight end Charles charged with DUI (mysanantonio.com)
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