- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

Marcus Vick has more to worry about than the NFL. He was charged with three counts of brandishing a firearm Monday in Suffolk, Va.

But if the former Virginia Tech quarterback somehow wriggles free from those accusations, would any NFL team take a chance on drafting Vick?

This, after all, is a serial transgressor whose gun charges came three days after he was kicked off the Hokies’ football team and two days after he said “I’ll just move on to the next level, baby,” meaning the NFL and presumably not a correctional facility.

“I’m not sure everybody would forget about him, but it certainly would be an issue with most teams,” said an NFL general manager who requested anonymity. “There’s always a club or two out there that would take a chance. You see examples on a yearly basis where somebody takes a shot because they believe enough in the kid or their system that it’s gonna work. Either it does or it doesn’t. Most of the time, it doesn’t.”

He said there always is more to a story than what is apparent and that all teams thoroughly check the backgrounds of draft prospects, shaky reputations or not. Asked if his team would be interested enough in Vick to warrant further checking, the GM said: “We might, but to be honest, it would be tough for us.”

Vick, who was suspended from the team twice before, including for the entire 2004 season, has a resume that includes several driving violations, marijuana possession, giving alcohol to minors and intentionally stomping on an opponent’s leg during the Gator Bowl last month.

“I thought that visual summed up what kind of kid he is,” said Mike Mayock, the draft analyst for NFL Network. “Here is a guy who was handed everything and he continues to throw it away.”

But a personnel director for another NFL club said he would not be surprised if some team rolls the dice on Vick as a late draft pick. In fact, he said his own team probably will at least check him out.

“We will study him,” he said, noting that players involved with drug use and other criminal activities also are routinely considered. “If you asked me, I wouldn’t touch him, but we’ll take a look. You have to examine everything. You have to examine all the circumstances. But the character issue is a big deal.”

While some athletes rise above their pasts, Vick — who declared for the draft last week after he was kicked off Virginia Tech’s team — already is being compared with the likes of Todd Marinovich, Lawrence Phillips and Maurice Clarett. All were talented college players who were drafted despite aberrant behavior. All were NFL busts. Phillips and Marinovich were so mainly because they never corrected their ways and Clarett, who was recently arrested for armed robbery, because he simply wasn’t good enough.

There is some doubt if Vick is good enough, even without the baggage. Overall, he is not considered to be as talented as his brother, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

“He was interesting, simply because he was so athletic,” the GM said of Marcus Vick. “People will tell you he threw the ball better than Michael. This kid might end up being one of those scrambling quarterbacks who finds a way to win games.”

Said Mayock: “I haven’t seen him on tape but my preliminary evaluation is that he’s got a little bit more of a natural touch and accuracy at this stage than his brother did. Michael has the arm, a fastball. This kid has more touch and a better understanding of the game. He’s not as electric as his brother. If he had a clean record, people would be sitting down and working the tape hard and trying to understand what he is.”

Frank Coyle, a draft guru who heads the Web site, draftinsiders.com, called Vick “a second-day player,” meaning someone who would be drafted after the third round. But that was without the problems.

With the problems, “Anybody that drafts him would have to be out of their minds,” he said.

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