2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v16.0

2 of 9

As many of you already know, standout outside linebacker Randy Gregory reportedly failed the drug test he took at the NFL scouting combine. Due to this failed drug test and Gregory’s reported history of marijuana use, his draft stock might very well take a significant nose dive before the event occurs at the end of this month.

Will Gregory’s recent episode cause him to actually fall to the Steelers in the first round? If so, would those in charge in Pittsburgh actually take a chance on a player like the former Cornhusker with their current need for help at outside linebacker? In terms of his on-field ability, there is plenty to like about Gregory and to be considered at number 22 overall.

A long and nimble athlete off of the edge, Gregory established himself as one of the Big 10’s most feared pass rushers during the last two seasons. Armed with a wonderful combination of speed, agility, tenacity and an array of pass rush moves, Gregory consistently harrassed opposing quarterbacks (2013-2014: 120 tackles, 29.0 TFLs, 17.5 sacks, 34 QB hurries) during his two seasons at Nebraska.

Gregory gets tremendous bend off of the edge, is extremely quick, uses his large hands to create havoc in passing lanes and has the type of frame to build on to become an effective 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Unfortunately for the former Cornhusker, there are some questions surrounding his on-field game in addition to the off-field issues I alluded to previously.

While Gregory has the arm length to be an effective run defender, he does not disengage from blockers as well as a player with his athleticism should. In addition, he does not possess the type of strength or consistent pad level to set the edge and will likely need to add more weight if he wishes to be more than a sub-package player early in his professional career. Finally, I question how well Gregory can turn “speed to power” as a pass rusher when faced against quicker and stronger NFL offensive tackles.

My feelings aside, I cannot see the Steelers’ passing on a talent like Gregory unless they are truly disturbed by his off-field marijuana use. The former Cornhusker would probably be the highest rated player on their boards at that juncture, and he would most importantly fill in at a position in dire need of a playmaker. This franchise has “looked the other way” when it has come to players and their off-field issues if they can execute on Sunday’s, and I have a hard time believing they will pass on Gregory if he’s available.

Next: Round 2