The Cincinnati Bengals, a franchise notorious for taking chances on players with questionable character, reportedly left Aaron Hernandez completely off their draft board in 2010. The fact that Mike Brown’s team would drop Hernandez from any consideration shows just how big his character concerns were entering the 2010 NFL Draft.
Brown told FOX Sports that the Bengals intentionally passed on taking Hernandez in 2010 after closely scouting tight ends all year. The team had received an unfavorable pre-draft report on Hernandez and they were seriously concerned that there would be more off-the-field problems with him once he reached the NFL.
Moving Hernandez off the board helped convince Bengals execs they should select Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham in the first round. Hernandez fell to the New England Patriots in the fourth round. Gresham has gone on to become a two-time Pro Bowler.
Brown had the following to say about Hernandez:
“That one is no secret. We just stayed away from it. We didn’t question the playing ability. But we went for Gresham.”
Despite showing himself to be an excellent athlete on the field while at Florida, Hernandez was the sixth tight end taken in the 2010 draft. He was certainly a first-round talent, and while on the field with the Patriots he showed that. In three seasons he racked up 175 receptions for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. But his off-the-field problems have now come back to haunt him as he finds himself charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.
The Patriots have now voided all of Hernandez’s guarantees for the remainder of his contract and were able to do so because he engaged in “conduct unbecoming.” The team will still carry cap figures of $2.55 million and $7.5 million in 2013 and 2014 respectively for Hernandez.