Could the Falcons draft Randy Gregory?

Here is another draft scenario to think about for the Falcons.

Of all the defensive prospects for this month's NFL draft, Nebraska's Randy Gregory perhaps fits what the Atlanta Falcons need more than anyone. He is 6-5 and weighs 235 pounds. He's athletic. And more than anything, Gregory did well at getting to the quarterback.

Gregory played at Nebraska for two seasons and finished with 17.5 sacks. Last season, as a junior, Gregory had seven sacks for 67 yards in losses. He had 16 quarterback hurries.

But Gregory made headlines at the NFL combine when he failed a drug test for marijuana. He's admitted that he has a "struggle" with the use of the drug. What is worse? The fact that Gregory has an issue, or the fact that he had to know he would be tested at the combine and still used the drug anyway?

So will that cause Gregory to slide in the NFL Draft? And will it cause the Atlanta Falcons to pass on him, even with their dire need for help at rushing the passer.

In his latest mock draft, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC has the Falcons taking Gregory with the eighth pick in the draft. Ledbetter has Atlanta actually passing on Missouri linebacker Shane Ray, who he has slipping all the way to 15 to San Francisco.

Ledbetter has Dante Fowler going to the Jaguars at number three, with Vic Beasley landing in Washington at number five. Todd Gurley, the running back from Georgia who Ledbetter had going to Atlanta in his first mock draft, is going one pick before to Chicago at seven in this mock.

So if Fowler and Beasley are off the board, and if the Falcons are determined to pick a defender, what do they do? Does Atlanta pick between Gregory or Ray, or are they tempted by Kentucky's Bud Dupree? Would the Falcons go with an offensive lineman, like Iowa's Brandon Scherff, who Ledbetter has going one pick later to the Giants at number nine?

I would pass on Gregory. Beasley is a better option, but if he's off the board, and if Gurley is gone as well, the Falcons should look at trade down in the first round, especially if Ray is slipping. But regardless of what the Falcons feel about their offensive line, it still needs help. So Scherff should still be a serious option.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at

Falcon Insider Top Stories