Given all the media coverage surrounding Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, you probably thought that this year’s NFL Draft was all about the quarterbacks. In reality, it’s all about the guys that sack them – the edge rushers and stud linebackers who can make plays in the backfield.
But now that’s up in the air.
Missouri defensive end and outside linebacker Shane Ray, a projected first-round pick, was cited for marijuana Monday, this after getting pulled over on Interstate 70 at 5:46 a.m. According to police reports, Ray showed no signs of impairment, but he had marijuana in his car and was issued a warning for speeding.
Ray apologized in a statement Monday night.
How this affects his draft stock, nobody knows.
“Going into this whole process, this entire draft was based on the edge rushers, the guys that were able to go ahead and put quarterbacks on the ground,” Atlanta’s 680 The Fan radio host Carlos Medina said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Now we’ve had the news in the past 48 hours on Shane Ray with the citation for possession of marijuana. We already had the Randy Gregory issue.”
The Nebraska outside linebacker tested positive for marijuana at the Combine.
“Suddenly you have a draft now where you have a lot of elite defensive guys who can get after quarterbacks, but now there’s a lot of risk in where you’re drafting them,” Medina said. “That is my big thing going into this draft. It’s not so much about the quarterbacks. I think the quarterbacks are going to be (drafted first and second) depending on who trades up or who wants to make a move for a Marcus Mariota. But it’s all about those pass rushers and those teams that want to go ahead and make a move to assume that risk and get a guy who’s potentially a game-changer.”
Ray, a 6-3, 245-pounder, had 14 sacks and 61 tackles in 14 games for Missouri last season. He was ejected from the 2014 SEC Championship game against Alabama for targeting but had a great season overall. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American. He also ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
Now, however, he could fall in the draft.
“I’ve considered him a mid-round pick,” Medina said. “I have him 13th overall on my board. I’ve looked at it like this: If you’re talking about dropping him to the late part of the first round, which is where I believe (he’s) going to be, part of that is the foot injury that he has that he has to rehab. The other part of it is now there is obviously a question of his decision-making. When you start taking a look at the big scheme of things, you’re talking about a $500,000 difference in what he’s going to make. So that’s some very expensive marijuana that he got caught with. That’s where I think he ends up falling – end of the first round, perhaps the top of the second round, where he’s a little less risky as a player.”