In Jacksonville, we're familiar with a general manager who seems to shy away from players with "character concerns". These concerns can range from bad attitudes all the way to being arrested for things like assault or marijuana. Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith has earned the moniker "Clean Gene" and not always in a loving fashion for this. A recent study seems to show however, that NFL teams are better off drafting players with some legal issues.
The study was done by Hamilton student Kendall Weir as his senior thesis for an economics degree and is being overseen by Wu. It included every player (around 1,200) taken in the 2005-2009 NFL drafts and their results at the scouting combine. Then it divided players into four groups based on comparable results and tracked their performance through the 2011-12 season. The four groups: 1.) Players with no suspensions or legal problems in college; 2.) Players suspended one game or more for violating team or university rules; 3.) Players arrested and charged with a crime; 4.) Players arrested, but not charged.
According to the study, the best pool to pull from is Group 4, which shows that players in that group are drafted in the same comparative spot as Group 1, but on average start two more games per season.
Group 2 dropped the furthest in the draft on average and also seemed to perform the worst averaging two starts less person and a shorter career on average.
Players in Group 3 seemed to perform almost exactly like the players in Group 1, but often are drafted around 15 spots lower on average.
So... about that whole choir boy thing.
To quote Bill Parcells, "It's not a game for the well adjusted."