By Josh Svetz
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has spoken out many times this season, giving his opinion on just about anything sports-related, especially when it could involve a possible draft target.
Recently, Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin came under fire when, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, he skipped a pre-draft workout with an unnamed NFL coach.
Since this report, Benjamin’s work ethic has come into question.
On Tuesday’s edition of The Ike Taylor Show, Taylor made it very clear what he thinks about Benjamin’s work ethic.
“As far as work ethic, there’s nothing wrong, the man works hard,” said Taylor. “Just looking at his background, seeing him come from a fatherless household with just his mom and grandma, something similar to I, you want to push and work harder to fulfill yourself, reach personal goals, but to also help out your family.”
A little known fact about Taylor is that he trains with Benjamin, as they both train with Tom Shaw in Florida, so it is important to know that Taylor has seen Benjamin not just as a football player, but as a person as well.
If a guy like Taylor says that Benjamin’s work ethic is fine, then personally, I have to take his word for it, as Taylor has shown good character during his time with the Steelers.
After Taylor gave his thoughts on Benjamin’s work ethic, he took a stance on private workouts altogether.
“You have to think about it, two guys were injured during individual workouts with teams,” started Taylor. “If I was an agent, I would tell my client, no. They saw you at your pro day and at the combine, why should you have to work out extra. The team (you work out for) may not even have the opportunity to draft you when they want to anyway.
“These guys (prospects) go through a lot during the season and in training. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your body coming off a college football season. I would not work out privately for anybody if I was a college athlete.”
First off, as far as I know, there is only one player who was injured during a private workout this offseason.
Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas tore his ACL when working out for the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple sources.
Of course, having just one player go down with injury during what Taylor deems as an unnecessary workout is too many.
Furthermore, Taylor brought up a great point about the body’s health and how a private workout could put extra stress on it, and this could hurt the player in question.
Defending Taylor’s convictions, his co-host John Harris brought up a good point that the workout could just be a smoke screen to take attention off a team’s desired target player.
He also talked about the possibility that a player could get injured at one of these private workouts, which would in turn hurt their draft stock and possibly prevent them from being drafted altogether.
Despite Harris and Taylor’s obvious disdain for the private workout, they did compromise on certain situations.
Harris and Taylor did mention that if it was just a physical to make sure the player the team is targeting is healthy and in good shape, then that is ok, but in terms of private workouts, both were firmly against it.
With the Thomas injury occurring, the idea of the private workout could become less and less as potential draftees attempt to get drafted as high as possible.
As far Benjamin goes, his agent Eugene Parker has denied that he skipped the workout, despite Brandt sticking to his story.