One player in the 2016 NFL Draft that has seen his stock move up and down more than a roller coaster is former Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence. Some teams are worried about him because of his troubled past that led to him getting dismissed from Ohio State.
However, despite the issues off the field, teams still know that Spence is talented and could make a huge impact wherever he ends up. One AFC executive even said that Spence might just be more talented than former Buckeye and teammate Joey Bosa, who is expected to be taken in the top five of Thursday’s draft.
“A lot of these kids have baggage,” the AFC personnel director said. “It comes down to what you can live with, and he’s made some big strides. I wouldn’t evaluate him so much off what he did at Eastern Kentucky, but he was playing as a freshman at Ohio State and making an impact (eight sacks) as a sophomore. He’s going to have a long career in this league. I would say that he’s got more natural ability than Joey Bosa.”
Spence has indeed tried to move on from his past and certainly wants to show everyone that he can be a big impact player for whoever ends up taking him this weekend, no matter if it is in the first round or fifth round.
It certainly looks like some of his former teammates are confident in what Noah Spence can do on the field as well. Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker, who is expected to be selected in the first round, said that the defensive end is just “pure speed.”
“Noah is just pure speed,” said Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker, who’s also projected as a first-round pick. “He’s really quick off the ball and has a really good motor. I’m just happy to see he was able to turn things around, because I know he was going through some dark times. I like him as a person and I’ve always gotten along with him. It’s cool to see a guy who had every reason to fail, but didn’t use one of them as a reason to fail.”
Noah Spence had a good couple of years for the Buckeyes as he racked up 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in two seasons. He then went on to have a good 2015 season for the Colonels, recorded 22.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, both of which led the team.
There is no telling where he ends up this weekend, but Spence’s ceiling is a very high one indeed.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports