While Randy Gregory‘s failed drug test at the combine might not be enough to push him too far down draft boards on its own, there’s concern about the pass rusher’s ability to “handle the mental rigors of professional football,” according to Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer of NFL.com. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes, the NFL.com report is quite vague and short on specifics, but Rapoport and Breer suggest that multiple teams have removed Gregory from their draft boards entirely. According to the duo, Gregory’s issues might be manageable, but not fixable, which makes it crucial that he lands in the right situation.
“It all depends on the organization, and what they have in place for him,” said one NFC personnel executive. “There are quite a few players that have issues. It’s where you place football character over the things he can’t control. That’s the big thing to me.”
Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports indicated earlier today that he wouldn’t touch Gregory, alluding to the Nebraska defender’s “other issues” (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets that those “issues” are a combination of mental health concerns and recreational drug use.
With players like Josh Gordon and Dion Jordan set to serve season-long suspensions, it makes sense that teams would be wary of a player like Gregory, who could potentially run into similar off-field trouble. It’ll be interesting to see which club eventually takes a chance on a player who has top-10 talent, and when exactly that happens.
Here are a few more draft updates:
- As rumors swirl suggesting that the Falcons could trade up from No. 8 for a top pass rusher, Rapoport tweets that most of the teams he has spoken to believe Atlanta will actually trade back and select an offensive lineman.
- According to Rapoport (via Twitter), Bills owner Terry Pegula initially planned to make the trip to Texas this week for the club’s meeting with Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. It ultimately didn’t work out, but it could be a sign that Buffalo is serious about Petty.
- Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com identifies the Rams, Saints, Bengals, Cowboys, Colts, Patriots, and Seahawks as teams that may be willing to roll the dice on some of the prospects in this year’s draft class who have red flags related to character and/or off-field incidents.
- While the Saints earned a mention in La Canfora’s list, GM Mickey Loomis did say today that some players will be off New Orleans’ draft board because of character issues, tweets Brett Martel of The Associated Press. Still, Loomis noted that in many cases he’s more concerned about a player’s judgment than the incident itself, and said it’s important to be careful about labeling a player based on one incident (Twitter links).
- Loomis also said today that the Saints are unlikely to trade picks, but will listen to opportunities to move up or down. The overarching goal for the draft, according to the GM, is to make the team better “right now” (Twitter links via Martel).
- Penn State tight end Jesse James, a probable mid-round pick, worked out for the Ravens, sources tell Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.