Will positive test affect DE Gregory’s stock?

Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory tested positive for marijuana at the combine, and he admitted to past problems. How will it affect his draft stock, if at all?

Randy Gregory’s admission that he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine is both good and bad. How so?

Testing positive won’t help him, of course, but the fact that he admitted it on his own – and owned up to his past marijuana use – will be viewed as a positive sign in the NFL scouting community. Now the challenge for NFL draft decision-makers will be determining if Scout.com’s No. 4-ranked overall prospect will be able to steer clear of further positive tests.

“I blame myself,” Gregory told NFL.com. “And I know it sounds cliché, but there’s really no one else I can blame.”

Gregory said he learned of the positive test during a phone call with his father. When his father told him of a letter he received from the NFL, Gregory thought it was going to be an invitation to attend the draft and asked his father to open it. Instead, it informed him of his failed drug test.

He told NFL.com smoking marijuana was a problem for him in the past, but he believes that is where the problem is buried.

“I don’t wake up every day saying, I’d really love to go smoke,” he said. “It’s not a struggle for me every day (now), it really isn’t. In the past, hell yeah, it’s been a struggle. It really has been. Now, I’m focused on my dream.”

Will NFL teams believe him? That is literally the million-dollar question for him moving forward.

A positive test at the combine means he will enter the NFL in Stage 1 of the league’s substance abuse program. A second positive test would put him in line for a four-game suspension, with steeper penalties (and fines) coming with any successive violations.

The on-field work Gregory did at the combine was impressive.

His 36½-inch vertical jump tied for fifth among the 55 defensive linemen at the Scouting Combine and his 4.64-second time in the 40-yard dash was sixth. But he also declined to do all of the agility tests, citing leg cramps. At Nebraska’s pro day, he decided to let his combine numbers speak for themselves, despite not competing in the 20- and 60-yard shuttles or the three-cone drills in Indianapolis.

Those measures of short-area quickness are actually considered Gregory’s strengths as a player, and they should be considering his size. At almost 6-foot-5, he weighed in at 235 pounds, 11 pounds lighter than any of the other defensive linemen, most of whom are 260 to 300-plus pounds.

While he reportedly started his career at Nebraska at 215 pounds, he got up to 255 pounds within two years. He then dropped weight to improve his quickness, and he could be considered a linebacker by some NFL teams.

In addition to the marijuana issues, he also brings some history of injuries that could be a concern to NFL teams. He missed the 2012 season with a broken leg, then required a “minor medical procedure” last year after suffering a sprained knee against Florida Atlantic. That caused him to miss only one game, but an ankle sprain and concussion took him out of another game against Iowa.

Still, Gregory started 20 of 24 games as Nebraska’s weakside defensive end, recording 120 tackles, including 29 for losses, 17½ sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, four deflected passes and two blocked kicks.

The talent and athleticism is obvious. The positive drug and his ability to put that problem in the past will be the key belief for NFL teams making a call on Gregory in the first round of the draft.

He said he hadn’t smoked marijuana since December, but his elevated levels from the past triggered a positive test. He said his marijuana use was discussed in all 29 formal and informal interviews with NFL teams at the combine.

“I want people to understand I’m not some dumb jock pothead. I’m not,” he told NFL.com. “I’m intelligent. I love the people who help me, I love my family, I love my support group. I love football. I love winning. And I don’t want to be labeled as some bust that couldn’t make it because he smoked. And I won’t be labeled as that.

“So I just want people to understand that. This may be a setback. You may look at me a certain way, but at the end, I’m still going to be on top. I’m still going to do well.”

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