Randy Gregory – Edge – Nebraska
Oct 26, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive end Randy Gregory (44) sacks Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner (7) in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
The popular first round choice in ours writer’s mocks, Randy Gregory is a first round talent in every aspect. He is almost unfairly gifted physically, and amassed 17.5 sacks in just two seasons at Nebraska. Gregory has a good mix of speed, strength and fast hands to disengage linemen and get into the backfield. He is extremely explosive, converts speed to power well and finishes the play once he reaches the QB. Of course, his talent was never in question, but rather a series of off-field issues which have seen his draft stock sink like a stone. Gregory tested positive for marijuana prior to the NFL combine, and reportedly has a long standing issue with the substance. However, he is physically more NFL ready than Shane Ray, who was also recently issued with a marijuana citation, yet Ray has been drafted while Gregory is still yet to hear his name. It seems likely that marijuana alone is not the reason that nobody has rolled the dice on the edge rusher, with many league sources suggesting that Gregory isn’t mentally ready for the NFL.
"At least three general managers view him as a top-five talent. But according to more than a dozen coaches, scouts, personnel chiefs and GMs, there is concern about Gregory’s ability to handle the mental rigors of professional football. And just how far he drops in this week’s draft will likely hinge on the individual psychological profiles (and the results of related testing) put together by each team, according to multiple veteran evaluators. He has been taken off a several team’s draft boards. One NFC general manager said, “There are more negatives than positives.” – Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer"
Off-field concerns aside, it seems unlikely that Gregory would have a role on the defense since the acquistion of Vic Beasley. Both are suited to play the LEO, and it seems unlikely the Falcons would risk a second round pick on a player they may be forced to play on a situational basis. If he’s still available in the fourth, or even the third, the organisation may roll the dice on Gregory, but a combination of the Falcons character filter and having semingly filled the LEO role means that fans shouldn’t get their hopes up that the team lands Gregory on day two.