With two weeks until the 2019 NFL Draft, it seems that the top prospect from the University of Wyoming, defensive end Carl Granderson, will still have a sexual assault case pending against him on draft day.
Granderson is currently facing third-degree sexual assault charges after he allegedly molested two women who were sleeping at his apartment on South 23rd Street in November.
The incident occurred the day after UW’s football season ended.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges Friday at an arraignment in Albany County’s district court.
The “not guilty” plea itself, however, gives no indication of whether Granderson actually intends to assert he’s innocent of the crime. The overwhelming majority of defendants who plead not guilty at their arraignment later plead guilty once prosecutors and defense attorney have hashed out a plea deal.
Under state statute, prosecutors must typically bring a case to trial within 180 days of the defendant’s arraignment.
A procedural plea of “not guilty” merely sets a deadline for a trial and, typically, spurs plea negotiations.
Before the charges were filed, Granderson was projected as a mid-round draft pick. One of the NFL’s own analysts is still predicting that he’ll be drafted, but in the sixth round.
A month ago, Granderson had a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he declined to discuss the charges with reporters. Had he been convicted of the sexual assault charge at the time, he would have been ineligible to participate.
After the combine, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, where prosecutors are generally required to establish probable cause to take the case to trial.
Under the terms of his bond, Granderson is not allowed to drink alcohol, enter a bar, and he must get court permission to leave the state.
Two women reported to the UW Police Department on Nov. 26 that Granderson “had touched them sexually, without their permission, while they were sleeping” that same day.
Granderson and both women had been staying at his off-campus apartment in Laramie the night before.
Former UW safety Andrew Wingard, the Mountain West’s all-time leader in solo tackles, is the only other UW player with a strong likelihood of being drafted.
In the past 10 years, seven players from UW have been drafted by NFL teams. In last year’s draft, quarterback Josh Allen was selected seventh overall by the Buffalo Bills.
After the charges were filed against Granderson, UW officials largely distanced themselves from the star athlete.
“The sexual assault charges recently filed against Carl Granderson are serious, and the allegations are troubling,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said in a February press release. “I want to assure the people of Wyoming that we hold our young men to the highest of standards, and this alleged behavior is unacceptable.”