When it comes to DGB and the Chiefs, remember this: Higher the ceiling, harder the fall
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Physically, he’s everything they need. Everything. The kind of absurd specimen drawn up in basements with nothing more than a PlayStation controller, a vivid imagination and a bag of Fritos.
It’s all there: 6-foot-5 in stocking feet, 230-some pounds. A 28-to-30-inch vertical leap, depending on the report. A whopping 17 receiving touchdowns in 25 collegiate games. A red-zone machine, quick enough and strong enough to hold the position on slants and powerful and tall enough to go up and win just about every jump ball imaginable on a fade in the corner.
As a target, Dorial Green-Beckham is just what the Kansas City Chiefs ordered, the kind of ceiling that stretches to the stars.
As an employee, he’s a walking powder keg.
And once that fuse is lit, best run like hell.
Longtime draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. turned heads locally Thursday when he posted his first 2015 mock draft for ESPN.com. Not because he projected the Chiefs to target one of their most glaring needs, wide receiver, a spot that reached a new modern NFL low this past fall with zero touchdown catches as a position group. That’s a no-brainer.
The hook is that Captain Haircut posited that the club would go with Green-Beckham, the native of nearby Springfield, Mo., and former Missouri star, as the remedy. Fine print and all.
All of which puts Chiefs fans — and, no doubt, Chiefs staffers who likely have discussed the matter — in a potentially uncomfortable, untenable position. Because Green-Beckham, 21, is the living epitome of the great NFL moral dilemma: A player you want, a player you need … with a rap sheet you don’t.
During the 2012 and ’13 seasons in Columbia, DGB caught 87 balls and averaged 14.7 yards per reception. He was also arrested on at least two different occasions on marijuana-related charges and allegedly pushed a woman down several steps.
So what’s it gonna be: Million-dollar arm? Or the five-cent head? Because there’s a good chance you’re not getting one without the other, no matter how badly you want to separate the two.
And, granted, moral equivalency in the NFL is a slippery, subjective slope. Ray Lewis is a Hall of Famer; Ray Rice is a pariah. The goal posts move, depending on the team, the commissioner, the circumstance and the cultural climate at any given moment. On Planet Goodell, conscience can be mercurial. Drugs. Performance enhancers. Gambling. Alcohol. It depends on the winds that particular day.
But right now, in the wake of the Rice fallout, those winds are blowing hard and strong against those star athletes who have been accused of — or convicted of — abusing women, a justifiable and overdue indignation that has become one of the league’s central causes.
And this is where the "oh" moment comes. In the movie "Major League," after watching Pedro Cerrano in the cage, launching fastball after fastball into orbit, the fictional Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown asks a coach how come this guy was still available to sign. The coach asks veteran pitcher Eddie Harris, now tossing BP, to throw some curves. Cerrano misses the first bender that comes over by more than a foot, and Brown grumbles in that inimitable, gruff baritone, "Oh."
DGB’s bad night — and there may have been more — in Columbia back in April 2014 is the curveball, the part of the story that should scare teams off, especially in a league trying so hard not to look insensitive on the subject. According to a police report, Green-Beckham allegedly forced his way into a female’s apartment, forcing open a door in the process. He allegedly pushed a female down several stairs. His girlfriend at the time reportedly asked those involved not to press charges, fearing for DGB’s football future. Green-Beckham was booted off the team by coach Gary Pinkel, eventually landing at Oklahoma, where he never saw the field.
Even if the NFL takes a harder line, recreational marijuana use is becoming less stigmatized by the year. DGB’s pot troubles of the past won’t scare the Chiefs, or any other teams, off the scent. Breaking into a woman’s apartment and pushing a woman down a set of stairs, though, will terrify them.
As well it should.
It’s two sides of the same coin, and which one lands face up? In terms of God-given ability, the football profile, DGB is a sure-fire first-rounder, a millionaire in the making. Sunday afternoons, he could change your world.
And on one wrong early Saturday or Sunday morning, he could turn that world to rubble. In an instant.
"Talent like this," Kiper wrote, "is hard to pass on."
The backstory, though, isn’t. The higher the ceiling, the harder the fall.