This afternoon, an article underneath former Pro Football Weekly senior editor Nolan Nawrocki's byline was published on NFL.com. The article is, ostensibly, a listicle detailing the "character issues" of a few top NFL draft prospects, and in its irresistible clickiness, in its eagerness to be argued with, the damn thing might as well have been headlined "10 Scouting Reports That Will Restore Your Faith in Trolling." There's something either deeply strange or profoundly telling about the fact that this article is on the NFL's official website.
In case you had forgotten, Nawrocki has made a name for himself by being a "straight shooter," a talent evaluator who isn't afraid to hand out harsh judgments about the humanity of college kids based on his and his sources' limited interactions with them. He's the guy who pointed out Cam Newton's "fake smile" and "me-first makeup" in one scouting report, who wrote that Geno Smith was not a "student of the game" and "needed to be coddled in college" in another—allegedly tough-minded, grown-up stuff that betrays a priggish obsession with etiquette and manners and outward appearances.
This is what Nawrocki does, though. We addressed the Nawrocki genre a little in the Cam Newton entry in our "Big Book of Black Quarterbacks" not long ago, and what we said there applies here. He's only "channeling the ancient, mostly suppressed chauvinism of pro football's management class, which flowers anew in the runup to every draft." So we shouldn't be surprised when he writes stuff like this, about Western Kentucky defensive back Jonathan Dowling: