The Green Bay Packers are setting aside concerns about the character of tight end Colt Lyerla just long enough to, at least, give the former Oregon standout a tryout as an undrafted free agent this weekend at the club's rookie minicamp. For a tight end that was considered one of the top prospects at his position in college football heading into last season, undrafted-free-agent status represents a long tumble downward.
A charge of cocaine possession, amid other character flags, have put Lyerla's pro football career at a grave early risk.
There were quite a few players that, like Lyerla, had more than enough talent to warrant a pick, but went undrafted. The most common themes among them as to why they never received a draft call were character and health. Here's a look at seven of those players (in alphabetical order). All but one has been signed by an NFL team.
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State: A defiant Bullough insisted at the NFL Scouting Combine that his draft stock would be unaffected by his still-mysterious suspension from the Spartans' Rose Bowl appearance. While there's no way to know for sure if he would have been drafted absent the suspension, the consensus heading into the draft was that he would likely go on the third day (Rounds 4-7). Bullough made 76 tackles, 9.5 for loss, for the Spartans last season. Status: Signed by Houston Texans.
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers: Although Coleman ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the combine -- most impressive for a 6-foot-6, 225-pound receiver -- questions about his surgically repaired right knee hounded him throughout the pre-draft process. When the draft came and went without Coleman receiving a call, confirmation came via nj.com, which reported that knee concerns were the reason he went unpicked. Status: Signed by New Orleans Saints.
Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina: After attending four high schools in four years and being suspended and nearly dismissed from the Gamecocks program early in his career, Hampton already had enough to answer for with NFL scouts. This spring, he was arrested for disorderly conduct after an alleged dispute with his sister. He came out early, publicly hopeful of being a second-rounder. Status: Unsigned as of this writing.
Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama: The Crimson Tide's strong-side linebacker, projected as a mid-round pick, went undrafted because of what Hubbard described as a minor abnormality in his heart. Hubbard wasn't especially productive in his last year of college, but the tall, rangy prospect (6-foot-6, 257 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds at the combine and is an impressive athlete. Hubbard has been cleared to play after passing a physical. Status:: Signed with Green Bay Packers.
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida: Where to begin with Purifoy? He and fellow Florida CB Marcus Roberson (more on him later) were both considered potential first-round picks at one point. But character concerns were a major issue regarding Purifoy's status, and like Roberson, a slow combine time (4.61) didn't help either. Allegedly, Purifoy was caught by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office with marijuana and the synthetic drug bath salts by police in March, but was not arrested after agreeing to serve as a drug taskforce informant, according to The Gainesville Sun. Purifoy reportedly then failed to make himself available to officers in the informant capacity, resulting in a bench warrant being issued for his arrest. That warrant was quashed and became the subject of a police internal affairs investigation, per The Sun. Status: Signed with Indianapolis Colts.
Antonio Richardson, OL, Tennessee: Projected last fall as a potential first-round pick, Richardson's NFL.com grade of 5.6 was the highest of all undrafted prospects. For perspective, first-round pick Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois graded just a 5.4. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis suggested way back in February at the NFL Scouting Combine that the Volunteers' left tackle might need to "redshirt" his rookie season in the NFL due to knee problems. About 10 weeks later, Richardson went undrafted as an early entry prospect and concerns about his knees had a lot do with him being bypassed, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Status: Signed with Minnesota Vikings.
Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida: Another first-round projection back in the fall, Roberson's stock slipped for a variety of reasons, health and character arguably both among them. His production last season was off in part due to injuries that limited him to seven games and just 11 tackles. Character-wise, he was suspended for UF's season opener against Toledo, then suspended again for UF's late-season SEC game against South Carolina. Add to that a slow 40-yard dash at the combine (4.61), and Roberson's stock tanked completely. Status: Signed with St. Louis Rams.