NFL Announces Very Clean Combine With No Positive Drug Tests
This comes as a surprise as every year a week or so prior to the draft, we normally hear at least a few players who fail the drug tests and see their draft stock slip.
Since 2010, no player who tested positively has been taken in the first round. With players well aware that they will be tested at the combine and knowing the dates, it is a bit disappointing to see guys continue to fail it. The fact that this year being so clean is rare, just adds to the disappointment. It shouldn’t be news worthy that the combine had no one test positively, but the sad reality is that it is. It shows a lack of discipline as well as their accountability being questioned.
A Brief History
In recent years, some big name players failed drug tests at the combine and watched themselves drop out of the first round and even further in some situations. Last year, Randy Gregory, who many projected as a top 15 pick, tested positive for marijuana and slipped all the way to 60th overall in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys. On top of that, he is suspended for the first four games of this season due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. While we can’t say for sure what kind of career Gregory will have, it is clearly not off to a such a hot start.
Zach Mettenberger provided a diluted urine sample in 2014, which caused him to slide all the way to the sixth round where he was selected by the Tennessee Titans 178th overall. Mettenberger clearly was not the answer in Tennessee, as they selected Marcus Mariota second overall last year and immediately became the franchise guy.
However, it is possible for a player to test positive at the combine, but still make an impact on a team. One of the bigger steals in recent drafts is outside linebacker Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs. He fell to the third round (70th overall) in the 2011 draft, where the Chiefs grabbed him. He has gone on to be a four-time Pro-Bowler, as well as leading the league in sacks (22.0) in 2014 and coming a half a sack away from tying the all time most in a single season. Houston is coming off a torn ACL this year and hopes to play in 2016.
After years of seeing prospects fail drug tests and slip in the draft, we finally have a year where that is not the issue. Off the field issues are still there as they always will be. Robert Nkemdiche, who looked to be a top five pick earlier this year, has fallen out of the first round in many mock drafts due to his antics off the field.
Whether he ends up like Gregory, missing games and not producing or like Houston and leading the league in sacks, is unknown at this point.
(NFL Announces Very Clean Combine)