Randy Gregory Works Out With Carolina Panthers As Draft Stock Falls


Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nebraska defensive lineman Randy Gregory talks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of March a report that Randy Gregory was working out for the Carolina Panthers would have seemed like insanity as the highly ranked defensive end was projected to go well before the NFC South champions were slated to pick in the 2015 NFL Draft at #25 overall. Gregory working out with a team picking so late in the first round seeming ambitious as best with the overall sense that the Nebraska pass rusher would be drafted easily within the Top 15 or at worst the Top 20 as a highly touted defensive prospect.

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That was prior to Gregory failing a drug test for marijuana at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine began to raise red flags about the former Cornhuskers star who at one point was drawing debates amongst draft analysts alongside Leonard Williams about who was the top defensive talent in the 2015 Draft. Now it appears that teams are cooling off on Gregory, enough that a front office holding onto a very late first round pick feel they should get an increased look at the player just in case he falls to the late first round.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson the Panthers scouts will be doing just that, working out and meeting with Gregory to assess his situation as the draft is nearing. Hoping that a player with upside falls to them due to the concerns over his marijuana test failure at the combine and could replace Greg Hardy (a player with far different character issues who is now in Dallas) on the outside of their pass rush for years to come.

Gregory’s situation brings up an unique debate over how much a failed drug test for marijuana should impact draft status, something that is normally treated on a case by case basis depending on the player. Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp famously dropped to #12 overall in the 1995 Draft over failed marijuana tests during his college career with the Miami Hurricanes. As did Randy Moss for criminal charges in addition to marijuana use concerns before becoming one of the best wideouts of all time. Those players proving to the league they were worth the risk, but ultimately dropping in the first round despite their obvious talents during collegiate careers.

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With that being said it should be safe to assume Gregory will also fall in the first round thanks to his failed drug test as prospects with far higher upsides have suffered similar fates in the draft in years past. That doesn’t mean a team won’t take a risk on Gregory later in the first day of the draft this year, as the Panthers have already showed that a few front offices are hoping that they can get some value from the pass rusher slipping down the board on draft day.

Carolina may not see him at #25, but whatever general manager who drafts Gregory will be bringing him on board with the knowledge that there could be risk of a suspension over marijuana use during his career based on his combine drug test failure. Something that will weigh on the minds of draft rooms come the big day where teams will need to make the tough decision on how much the drug test will affect their view of Gregory as a prospect when placing him on their boards for the first round of the 2015 Draft.

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