Should the Saints take a chance with one of their number one picks (which they have not done before) on a troubled player who tested positively for marijuana?

The Case for Randy Gregory

Not only is Gregory troubled but he is raw.  Fans who expect him to play out of the draft box will be disappointed.  He piled up some great statistics while at Nebraska and had a few injuries (knee injury and broken leg) during his college career.  He will need coaching.

The Good:  He can square up against offensive linemen and is competitive against the run.  He has good bend which means he can play balanced in his stance and is fluid through the hips which means he can flip his direction easily to pursue.  His hips have been defined as explosive with an ability to get an instant change of direction.  He has a high motor and does not stop chasing the ball.  He is comparable to Aldon Smith and Barkevious Mingo.

NFL insider info:  “He’s super raw, but those physical tools are through the roof. That’s why you pay coaches.” — NFC scouting director

The Bad:  Thin in the chest and this may cause balance issues if he moves up from his bend.  His technique allows him to be pushed back by not angling to the side to shed a blocker.  He will require a patient coach to develop.  Can be slow to the play and last out of his stance.

CBS Profile and NFL Profile

CBS thinks he will be drafted by the Ravens.  Failing a drug test at the Scouting Combine is the latest in a string of missteps from Gregory over the past year, which is why the clear-cut top 10 talent is likely to slide on draft day. Pass rushers this gifted generally don’t fall far, though. GM Ozzie Newsome has padded his Hall of Fame resume by capitalizing on falling stars like Gregory in the past and the Ravens invited the former Huskers star in for a visit.

ESPN Insider Info:  (Requires an account)  This year there is considerable uncertainty concerning who will be the first edge rusher selected in the NFL draft. Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler Jr., Shane Ray, or Vic Beasley could all conceivably hear their names called first. SackSEER, however, projects this class as night and day. It sees two of the four as excellent prospects and the other two as highly likely to become busts.   They believe Gregory is similar to Cliff Avril and he is not a bust candidate in their eyes.  They do believe Shane Ray and Dante Fowler are potential draft busts.  SackSEER has been historically more correct than incorrect.  (Get the ESPN Insider account for more information on their thoughts and methodology.)

We asked one of our favorite draft scouts what he thought of Gregory versus the chance to take wide receiver Davante Parker.

2014 Nebraska versus University of Southern California Holiday Bowl saw some great play by Gregory (#4).  You can see his fluidity and his potential.  The game is also notable because you get a chance to watch Leonard Williams (#94) for USC play as well.  (As an aside, if I were GM for a day, I would trade up for Williams not Mariota.  He is that good and commands the line.) Should the Saints take a chance on Gregory?  If you believe they are in a win now mode, Gregory would have the most upside for a player at the number #31 spot.