Apparently Bengals owner Mike Brown is far more interested than a player's potential and talent level when developing the team's draft board. Earlier this week, we learned that team removed Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski off the team's draft board in 2010 due to concerns off the field and an injured back respectively.
On Wednesday, Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter said on ESPN that the Bengals also took him off their draft board because they were concerned that Carter wouldn't stay out of trouble.
“Coming out of college from Ohio State, I was a first-team All-American,” Carter said. "Mike Brown, I’ve talked to him in the last several years. He took me off their list, too. He said he regretted it because I was a local talent and he wished they hadn’t, but he told me, ‘Cris, I took you off our board based on the information we had.’”
As Michael Davis Smith writes on Pro Football Talk, Carter did have a history that raised red flags.
Carter was a great player at Ohio State, but he had a drug problem, and he was also banned by the NCAA for hiring an agent before his senior season. The Eagles took Carter with a fourth-round pick in the 1987 supplemental draft — a bargain considering his talent, but a risk considering his off-field issues — and although he played fairly well in his three seasons in Philadelphia, Eagles coach Buddy Ryan ultimately decided Carter’s drug problem was too much to deal with, and Carter was cut.
It's hard to blame Brown for not drafting Carter, with the information available about the receiver at the time. And it even took some time before Carter finally walked the path that would make him one of the all-time great receivers.