It was one part “Draft Day,” one part “Ballers.” OK, maybe even two or three parts “Ballers.”
The nation watched Thursday night as Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil — viewed as a near lock to hear his name called within the first five or six picks in the 2016 NFL Draft — waited. And waited. And waited.
While Aaron Rodgers and Johnny Manziel both endured longer waits in the green room on their respective draft nights, their situations both paled in comparison to the absurdity of Tunsil’s, which truly was unlike anything we’d ever seen.
Moments before the draft began, a video of Tunsil smoking what appeared to be marijuana out of a gas mask was posted by O-line prospect’s verified Twitter account. The video hastily was deleted, but not quickly enough. Tunsil, whom many experts believed would be drafted third overall by the San Diego Chargers, tumbled all the way to No. 13, at which point the Miami Dolphins finally nabbed him.
But that wasn’t all. Moments after Tunsil held up his new Dolphins jersey for the first time, his Instagram account was hacked, with the perpetrator sharing screenshots of messages between the tackle and Ole Miss assistant athletic director John Miller. The messages appeared to show Tunsil asking for money from a coach or program staffer, which he then admitted to doing in his post-draft news conference.
Get all that?
Tunsil’s plight dominated headlines after Round 1, and it’s highly unlikely any other story will outshine it over the draft’s final two days. As the league prepares for Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night, let’s take a quick look at the fallout from Thursday’s craziness.
Ryan Tannehill has been sacked more than any other NFL quarterback since 2012, and his team was able to use its mid-first-round pick on a stud tackle whom some experts had pegged as the best player in the draft, period. We’d call that a win.
With Tunsil sliding, the Buckeyes became the first program since 2010 to have two players drafted in the top four. Defensive end Joey Bosa went third overall to the Chargers, and running back Ezekiel Elliott went fourth to the Dallas Cowboys. All told, Ohio State had three players drafted in the top 10 and five in the top 20, the most of any school.
The inevitable Laremy Tunsil “30 for 30” is going to be fascinating.
This one’s obvious. On top of the embarrassment of being forced to sit in front of television cameras while someone appeared to actively try to destroy his reputation, Tunsil’s precipitous fall likely cost him more than $10 million. Tunsil handled his post-draft interviews with class, though, and there’s no reason he can’t go on live up to his pre-draft hype in Miami.
The Rebels already were in hot water with the NCAA. A player admitting to receiving money through the football program — pretty much the biggest violation in the book — won’t help those matters one bit.
But the biggest loser…
Whoever hacked Tunsil’s accounts
No matter what personal gripe this person might have with Tunsil, this is the lowest of low blows.
Thumbnail photo via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Laremy Tunsil (Mississippi) is selected by the Miami Dolphins