clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raiders 2015 Draft Pick or Pass: Randy Gregory

New, comments

Saddled with question marks, Nebraska OLB Randy Gregory is one of the most polarizing figures in this year's draft. Will he be polarizing with our writers as well?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Search Randy Gregory's name and one of the first words that comes up is the word "risk". Of course, there is plenty of reward to be had with Nebraska's junior OLB, but after multiple failed drug tests it seems no one wants to talk about that as much.

Gregory made waves at the combine this year, but not the kind you wanted as he was discovered to have failed a drug test by testing positive for marijuana. You know you're going to be tested, so how could you possibly let that happen?

So with immense talent and athleticism, we ask our writers: can you overlook the drug problems and consider Gregory at pick No. 4?

Jeff Spiegel

If you're looking for an athlete, I'm not sure you'll find a better one at No. 4, because at 6'5" and 235 pounds, there probably aren't many other guys in this draft who had Division I basketball offers.

Then again, if you're looking for some red flags, I think Gregory is your man to: drugs, grades and injuries — Gregory has it all.

Out of high school, Gregory signed with Purdue and then didn't qualify academically. After a year at junior college, Gregory transferred to Nebraska, when he subsequently broke his leg and missed the entire 2012 season. Of course, then there's the failed drug test — which only confirmed a problem that many evaluators said he had at Nebraska last fall (he failed two drug tests).

Then, there's the on-field performance. In two seasons, Gregory logged 17.5 sacks, including 10.5 as just a sophomore in his first season at the Division I level.

There's a lot to like about Gregory on the field — his athleticism, his production and his upside. Ultimately, though, the Raiders need a slam-dunk at No. 4 and I don't think Gregory is that guy.

Verdict: PASS

Marcus Allen Krause

Randy Gregory's biggest issue is not on the field but rather off of it. He has admitted to using marijuana and worse than that, he has admitted to it being a struggle to not use despite its obvious impediment to his future. It's not the use of marijuana that bothers me, I believe in it's medical purposes and think the NFL will remove it from it's banned substances once the Federal Government overhauls it's legal standing. It is the struggle to stop using it when using has such a drastic effect on his earning potential at this state in his life.

With that in mind, I think the Raiders should "pass" on him at the No. 4 pick. I would have no problem trading back into the first round to get him later on if that was an option but the No. 4 pick is simply "too high" of a spot to take him. There is the possibility that he will fall in the draft so if that happens making a move to get him would make a lot of sense, but unless that happens there are too many other excellent options available to take the chance on a player with a red flag.

Talent is not the issue, he has loads of it. The issue he has probably won't be a problem forever, but until the rules change regarding the banned substance he is too risky of a pick to make here. The Raiders simply can not risk using this pick on a player that might find troubles in seeing the field in the new era of scrutiny in the NFL. If based on talent alone then he would be a good pick, but unfortunately given his extra-curriculars I would have to advise passing on Randy Gregory.

Verdict: PASS


Here's a guy who benefits from a highlight reel more than just about anyone else.

I started hearing about Randy Gregory during the middle of last season as a potential top five pick. I went on Youtube and looked for Randy Gregory highlights — they weren't hard to find. My eyes popped out of my head, this guy was amazing! Speed, strength, athleticism, ruthless aggression. He had it all.

Then I watched some Nebraska games. Where was Randy Gregory? Was he playing? I couldn't tell. I had to check and see what number he wore. I found him. I watched his play. He makes about two or three ridiculous plays every game and then disappears. I could see how it would be very easy to put together an impressive highlight reel, but I knew when the experts dissected his tape he'd fall down draft boards, which is precisely what has happened.

In Gregory's defense, Nebraska's defense has been absolute ass for the last two seasons and he has clearly been the best player on it. He can only do so much, but a truly transcendent pass rusher would be able to disrupt enough and get off blocks effectively enough to make everyone else around them look better.

Gregory is not that guy. He is a skinny dude who is strong and fast but isn't very bright. He's the battering ram when a lockpick would be more useful. He will lock on to the guy in front of him and try to destroy that guy before moving on to the next guy, which should be the ball-carrier. In open space with just him and the quarterback, there are few guys more aggressive and effective at bringing that guy down. He just doesn't get off blocks enough or have the technique to get there enough at the next level.

This guy has the physical tools and the mean streak to be dangerous, but he also has a very high bust potential. He needs strong coaching to reach his ceiling. I think the Raiders ought to let some other team take that chance.

Verdict: PASS

Tyler Green

There is no question that Randy Gregory is talented, as he possesses great length and a knack for rushing the quarterback. But he also comes with baggage as their are reports of him being a "me" player and he recently fail a drug test at the NFL Combine. While Gregory played defensive end at Nebraska, he only weighs 235 lbs which projects him as an outside linebacker in the NFL.

The Raiders already have two young and talented linebackers in Sio Moore and Khalil Mack. If they want to address defense, it should be at defensive end.

Verdict: PASS

Levi Damien

Through most of this offseason, he was widely considered the top pass rushing defensive end in the draft. The Raiders desperately need a pass rushing threat at defensive end so Gregory being near the top of the Raiders' draft board would make sense. All that consideration ended when he admitted to popping positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.

It's the most predictable drug test in sports and he pops positive. Colossally stupid. Not long after he failed the drug test, rumors emerged that he would smoke pot prior to games at Nebraska to calm his nerves. Another red flag. There is a lot of risk there that whichever team drafts him could lose him to suspensions and if they didn't that he would not hold up well to the pressures of the NFL. It's a shame, really, to have to pass up on potentially an extremely talented pass rusher, but when you have a top five pick, you can't take on that kind of risk.

Verdict: PASS