Arrest puts in question former Oregon TE Colt Lyerla's draftability
Two months ago, versatile Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla was a top-40 prospect and potential first-round pick with a ceiling approaching Jimmy Graham territory. A drug bust Wednesday night, according to police, follows a split from the team that tarnishes his personal and football character -- that's a lot of "downside" to overcome.
Colt Lyerla, who left the University of Oregon football team two weeks ago, was arrested Wednesday for unlawful possession of cocaine and interfering with a police officer, the Lane County (Ore.) Sheriffs Department said.
An officer working on a case nearby said he observed Lyerla snorting a "white, powdery substance."
Lyerla, who had 34 career receptions and 11 touchdowns, left the Oregon team on Oct. 6. He chose not to make the trip with the team to Boulder to play Colorado and was suspended by coach Mark Helfrich. Lyerla missed Oregon's Sept. 14 game vs. Tennessee. The school said at the time he was ill.
The talented tight end withdrew from school but said he would not transfer. He signed with a sports agency with plans to prepare for the NFL draft. NFLDraftScout.com had a first-round grade on Lyerla before he left the team.
Following Wednesday's arrest, it's debatable whether he's draftable. Players with off-field issues but immense talent have been drafted in the top three rounds in recent years, including Florida and North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins and LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu failed three marijuana tests at LSU and sat out his senior season, but was contrite in team interviews and worked out well at the Scouting Combine.
Police reportedly observed Lyerla, 20, snorting what appeared to be a white powdery substance in a parked vehicle, according to the report, and Lyerla admitted to using cocaine. According to the report, police detectives were working an unrelated case in Eugene when Lyerla was spotted.
Lyerla agreed to meet officers at Lyerla's residence, according to the report, but once there Lyerla ran from the vehicle into a nearby apartment. He was arrested exiting the apartment and was taken to Lane County Jail.
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