Noah Spence   ER/DE   Eastern Kentucky

Noah has the talent to be an impact pass rusher and defensive player at the next level for the team that selects him. He shows a good burst off the line of scrimmage and the flexibility to turn the corner and sack a quarterback. He does a surprisingly solid job playing against the run and can shed and make tackles in the hole. Noah has good football intelligence and plays well within the context of the game plan. He works well when used for stunts and is excellent against sweeps to his side of the field and screens. Noah has the ability to play on either side of the defensive line with his hand down or as a stand up linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He is very talented and if he can keep his off field issues in check, he should be an excellent defensive player for the team that selects him.

Noah hasn’t shown much on film dropping off the line of scrimmage in coverage but I’m sure with his athleticism that he will not have a problem. The real question is off field issues that got him kicked off the Ohio St team as reported in the USA Today “Noah was banned from Big Ten football in 2014 and missed the Buckeyes’ run to the national championship. He failed multiple drug tests, including a first violation for Ecstasy”. Also with drug issues, you have to ask the question, does he still have the same friends now that he had when he was taking drugs or has he moved on and can stay clean?

Noah has top ten talent; there’s no doubt about that. The question is do you trust him? This is a kid who will sign a contract and receive more money than he has ever seen before. So the questions are not just answered with drugs. At this point, I would not take him off my board, but I don’t jump through hoops to draft him early. For me personally, based on the limited and unsubstantiated information I have, I would have to give him the benefit of the doubt. This season at Eastern Kentucky, it seems that Noah may have avoided the previous off field issues; however, as we have learned about others with these types of issues, it’s usually a struggle every day for the rest of their lives. Remember this about the NFL, “Talent trumps character”. Don’t believe what the management of a team will tell you about off field issues because if a player is talented, a lot of teams will overlook off field issues in most cases. You can bet on Noah being selected early in the first round and it won’t matter if he has a problem or not. For me personally, I would struggle selecting him in the top ten and my grade will put him late in the first, early second round, but with more information, you never know. I do struggle making the first pick in my draft a player with the character issues that Noah has shown in the past, but sometimes the past is the past. For Noah’s sake, I hope that’s true.

Drew Boylhart  FEB.2016