NFL icon breaks silence on 1 of the biggest draft day slides


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There was and still is speculation as to why LSU’s Derrius Guice fell during the NFL draft. The two-time All-SEC running back went from a projected first-round pick to the bottom of the second round before being taken by the Redskins.

There was talk that Guice is immature and had been involved in incidents that weren’t reported.

Doug Williams, Washington’s senior vice president of player personnel, appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday and said he has no such qualms about the former Tiger.

Both Williams and Guice are from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the former Redskins and Buccaneers quarterback has a perspective that many don’t have when it comes to Guice’s background.

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“To be honest with you, he grew up in the area that I grew up,” Williams said, according to NBC Sports. “I know more about him than a lot of folks have known about him. And when you think about this kid from where he comes from and to be in the position that he’s in, you’ve got to applaud the kid, and you know sometimes people will misunderstand a kid that comes out of where he comes out of. There’s an area down in Baton Rouge they call ‘The Bottom.’ Very few young men come out of ‘The Bottom.’”

Many of the reported issues surrounding Guice point to his supposed lack of maturity, but the running back has no known arrests, suspensions or failed drug tests.

“For this kid, who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, hasn’t been arrested, no failed drug tests,” Williams said. “He’s a happy-go-lucky kid.”

The most public issue regarding Guice was a rumored confrontation involving the Philadelphia Eagles’ staff, but both Guice and Eagles GM Howie Roseman died there had been an altercation.

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When you compare that unconfirmed dust-up with the red flags other players have, it’s hard to understand why Guice slipped so far in the draft.

Former Florida receiver Antonio Callaway was suspended for sexual assault and missed the entire 2017 season. He then failed a drug test at the scouting combine — and still ended up being a fourth-round pick by the Bengals.

Teams can choose to look past a player’s red flags and cite his talent and ability, or they can bring up those red flags as a reason for passing on him.

In Guice’s case, those red flags aren’t blowing very strongly, and some NFL insiders wondered if the campaign to lower his draft stock was orchestrated per NBC Sports.

The Redskins originally had the 44th pick in the second round but wound up trading that and a fifth-rounder to San Francisco for the 59th pick and a third-rounder.

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After a running back was selected with the 43rd pick, no other backs were taken until the Redskins jumped on Guice with the 59th pick.

“We were sweating bullets,” Williams said. “No way in the world we was going to pass him up the second time.”

Guice will look to bolster the league’s 27th-ranked rushing attack and has a message to the other 31 teams that passed on him:

“If you don’t draft me, I’m going to give your defense hell.”

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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