PITTSBURGH - Before the Pittsburgh Steelers make questionable draft picks, they amass as much information as they can about the eligible players.
They watch tape, they compile scouting reports from multiple sources, and they ask a lot of questions. In recent years, it's become standard for teams to invite draft candidates in for personal interviews. That gives the staff a chance to look the player in the eye and get a feel for his personality.
The interviews are wide-ranging. Mike Tomlin said he likes to ask players if they have any hidden talents. That loosens things up. One of his questions should also be, "Do you see any problem with being on Carson Street at 3 o'clock in the morning?"
That became an issue with Mike Adams, the Steelers' second round pick in 2012. He was on the South Side streets either very late on a Saturday night or very early on a Sunday morning and wound up in the hospital to get treatment for a stab wound.
His assailants recently went on trial and wound up beating the rap on the most serious charges. The jury may not have been sold on their story, but they absolutely didn't believe Adams' version, which claimed a robbery attempt.
The details are up for debate, but the fundamental problem is being on Carson Street at 3 a.m. Unless you're really early for 9 o'clock Mass at Prince of Peace on 15th Street, there's no good reason to be out among the nightcrawlers - not when you have a million dollar career to protect. Get Netflix. Order a pizza. Stay in.
Adams was a character issue because of a positive drug test in college. He convinced the Steelers during his interview that he was better than that.
The Steelers spent their first-round pick on Santonio Holmes in 2006. Outstanding receiver, but a person who had a knack for finding trouble.
Holmes had fathered several children by different women while in college. Maybe that should have been a red flag. On draft day, one Steelers coach made a crude off-the-record joke to shrug off Holmes' paternity issues.
Later he was charged with marijuana possession and wound up posting Twitter messages that showed questionable judgment. After the best season of his career, the Steelers wound up giving Holmes away in a trade for a fifth-round draft pick just to get rid of the headaches.
What does it all mean? Evaluate the player's talent, but weigh that against his character, too. Before you spend millions on a player, make sure he's not going to cause the police to call in the middle of the night.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org