This is not the first time the Panthers have shown serious interest in the pass rusher. Last week, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted the team had Gregory in for a visit the week prior and that it would be unlikely he is available when the Panthers are picking at 25.
Gregory was thought of once as a clear cut Top 10 pick but NFL Network reporter Kimberly Jones reported last week when he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. That may not be so certain anymore.
Gregory said about the failed test, “I blame myself. And I know it sounds cliché, but there's really no one else I can blame.”
Teams may be a little more hesitant to invest a high draft pick in Gregory, especially knowing that with this failed drug test he is already placed in Stage 1 of the league’s substance abuse program, as Jones reported.
This could bode well for the Panthers if they want to take a chance on a player who is without question physically gifted. Scout.com gives him a 5-star rating, which is designated for first round picks, and he is currently rated the fourth best prospect.
At 6’5” and 235 pounds he has the physicality to put his hand on the ground to rush as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. He also has the quickness and agility to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and drop back into coverage.
There will be a lot of “ifs” for the Panthers to have the chance to draft Gregory and even if he is on the board it won’t be a guarantee they would select him. The team is clearly doing their due diligence with visits and private workouts and will have to feel completely confident this failed test is behind him.
The slightest chance they feel this could be a problem, it would not be a surprise to see them pass on Gregory, especially with the memory of Greg Hardy still fresh in the mind of the organization.
This will be one player who will be worth watching in the first round to see how much, or if at all, this failed drug test affects his draft stock.