clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Could Randy Gregory's suspension stop the Giants from drafting Noah Spence?

If pass rusher Noah Spence is available when the Giants are on the clock at 10th overall, would Randy Gregory's struggles with marijuana give them second thoughts?

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Last week both the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. mocked Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence to the New York Giants.

Shortly after that, Dallas Cowboys' defensive end Randy Gregory was handed a four-game suspension after failing his fourth drug test. Gregory was considered a top talent in the 2015 draft but fell to the third round after admitting that he failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Spence's story is well known by now: He was one of the first big recruits Urban Meyer landed at Ohio State and made an immediate impact as a freshman pass rusher. Following his red-shirt sophomore season, however, he was dismissed from the Ohio State program and banned from the Big 10 after repeated failed drug tests.

On the field, Spence is one of the most talented pass rushers in the 2016 draft, but with Gregory's suspension and Spence's history, what does that mean for the likelihood of the Giants drafting Spence if he is available at 10th overall?

To help answer that question we reached out to some in the scouting community.

Scott Wright, from DraftCountdown, had this to say about whether Gregory's suspension would make the Giants think twice about Spence:

Maybe. However, assuming he doesn't slip up between now and Draft Day I think teams will feel pretty comfortable that his issues are in the rear view mirror. ...

I also believe Spence is generally considered a good kid ...

I would be very surprised if the Giants took Spence. He is exactly the type of stud pass rusher they need but they are really big on character.

On Twitter, Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting compared the two young men and believes them to be very different.

When I asked him to expand on the differences between Gregory and Spence, Galko had this to say:

Basically, everyone vouches for his character. Even people who didn't have to (including agents that lost out on recruiting him) said positive things. Quieter kid, but highly focused. He's had himself drug tested since he left Ohio State above and beyond what Eastern Kentucky asked for. ... But while he hasn't been totally spotless off the field, his drug issues stemmed from youth and feeling invisible/free when coming to college rather than one with malintent or serious long-term issues. His family and support structure are ideal.

I keep mocking him in the top-10 becaue talent-wise he belongs there, but I can't say that confidently yet based on those I've spoken to about it. I think the expectation is that he's a late-first rounder, but it only takes one team to give him a chance. New York and San Francisco make the most sense, as they're willing to take character concerning guys.

For my own take, I believe that assuming he is available, selection of Spence -- and to a similar extent, albeit different circumstances, Jaylon Smith -- by the Giants is largely dependent on how much of what kind of risk Jerry Reese is willing to stomach. For the first time in his tenure as the Giants' general manager, Resse is "The Guy."

He inherited Tom Coughlin as head coach from Ernie Accorsi and Wellington Mara. Ben McAdoo was chosen by Jerry Reese and John Mara. By extension (though we can't know the extent of the extension), McAdoo's coaching staff is on Reese as well. Not only is Reese responsible for picking the talent, but he is now -- at least in part -- responsible for the development of said talent.

So, how much of a gamble is Reese willing to take? Spence and Smith are "Blue Chip" talents, but they come with risks. Players like Sheldon Rankins, Andrew Billings, Kevin Dodd, Vernon Hargreaves, or Carl Nassib aren't, but they are much safer.

What kind of risks are acceptable? Does Spence's past weigh too heavily in a city with as much temptation as New York?

And how much talent can he afford to pass up on? The Giants can't afford to miss on a high pick, but they badly need an infusion of talent.

So, what do you think Giants' fans? Would you be comfortable with Noah Spence as a New York Football Giant, or would you prefer they be more risk-averse?