The tug between talent and character when it comes to draft prospects can make for heated debates not only within NFL clubs, but throughout their fan bases, as well. The draft's biggest lightning rods for controversy are always the players with prolific talent, but whose biggest obstacle to a successful pro career could be themselves. Some fans want them on their teams, others don't, but most are ready with a "told you so" when the player's career allows for it, good or bad. Here are five of the 2015 NFL Draft's most polarizing prospects:
No draft prospect has had his character dissected more in recent months than the former Seminoles star and Heisman Trophy winner. He has navigated a sexual assault allegation without being charged by the law or without being found guilty of violating the school's conduct code, yet NFL clubs are rightly digging deep into his background before they invest first-round money, not to mention their reputation, in him. Add the fact that he plays quarterback and is the presumptive No. 1 pick of the draft, and there isn't a prospect that divides opinions more.
NFL fit:Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When the co-owner of the team says the club's background checks into the draft's most controversial figure have satisfied its concerns, the fit is strong beyond just the Bucs' need for a quarterback and its readiness to make him the No. 1 pick.
One of the draft's most impressive combinations of size and speed is set to become a first-round pick and a millionaire barely more than a year after the University of Missouri tossed him off the team. His transgressions there included two marijuana-related arrests, but more importantly an allegation that he pushed a woman who fell part of the way down a staircase. Aside from questions about his maturity, his work ethic is in question, and he's also a year removed from the field after having sat out the 2014 season at Oklahoma under transfer rules. He's been described as the draft's "ultimate boom or bust" prospect -- for NFL fans, nothing is more polarizing than that.
NFL fit:New England Patriots. Clubs with the right mix of structure and culture are best for players with character questions, and New England embodies that. Not to mention, a dynamic wide receiver who stands 6-foot-5 could bring a lot of energy to the twilight of Tom Brady's career.
Peters was dismissed from the Huskies program in November, casting serious doubts about his value as a draft prospect. His attitude with UW's new coaching staff not only set up his ouster from the program but also might have resulted in him being labeled, deserved or not, as being uncoachable. Peters has shown some contrition and mended the fence with the UW staff well enough to participate in the Huskies' pro day. But he'll still have plenty of eyes on him as a rookie.
NFL fit: Like the Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers provide a no-nonsense locker room for incoming players who need it. NFL Media's Lance Zierlein sees the black and gold as the right colors for Peters.
You're an NFL general manager whose team is desperate for a big-time pass rusher. There are several of them available at the top of the draft, including Gregory, but also no shortage of other teams who will compete for them. Gregory's admission of a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine, combined with failed tests while at Nebraska, saddle him with the red flags among the best pass rushers available. Do you take him? Do you pass? And if Shane Ray, Dante Fowler and Vic Beasley are drafted before Gregory at the position, would you rather draft a lower-risk guy like Bud Dupree? Gregory will enter the league already part of the NFL's Substance Abuse program -- the risk here isn't to be discounted.
NFL fit:New Orleans Saints. If Gregory slips out of the draft's top 10 picks, as NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah suspects, the Saints could be readily waiting for what could be a top-five talent. And the need is there to go with the value.
According to an AFC scout, Dawson's draft grade could slide as much as two rounds based on character issues alone. The Horned Frogs linebacker didn't help his cause with a disappointing combine performance, but he improved his times at the TCU pro day. One thing in Dawson's corner is the fact that the inside linebacker position isn't an especially strong one in the draft this year. For an NFL team who needs one, there aren't many options in Dawson's neighborhood from a talent standpoint.
NFL fit:Green Bay Packers. Clay Matthews could certainly show Dawson the Packer way with a commanding presence, and if Dawson excels, the club could have the flexibility to move Matthews back to the outside position.