Former Missouri star pass-rusher and top NFL prospect Shane Ray has been cited for possession of marijuana just days before the 2015 NFL draft.
Continue for updates.
Ray Still Expected to Be Drafted in Round 1
Thursday, April 30
ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported "that Ray is expected to be selected before the first night of the draft comes to a close," via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk:
Schefter added that the Falcons could take Ray with the eighth overall pick, which comes after Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said Ray “absolutely” remains on their draft board. That doesn’t mean they’ll be selecting him with that pick or at any other point in the first round, of course, but it does suggest that Ray’s talent will be enough for someone to roll the dice on him early in this weekend’s proceedings.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com and SiriusXM NFL Radio passed along comments from Ray on April 29 regarding his marijuana citation and how it impacts his draft stock:
He also pointed out that he's been receiving more interest from teams picking later in Round 1, via Alper.
"With the timing of what happened, of course they would question my judgment," Ray said. "All I can try to do is ensure the teams that I will grow from my mistake and I'll continue to try and make better decisions."
Alper also added:
A drop down the board may be likely, but it may not be a particularly extreme one. Ray said Wednesday that he's been getting "a little bit more interest" from teams who are picking in the late stages of the first round, which would be a lower landing spot than most people originally predicted but not the catastrophic drop that [former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark] Dominik suggested in the wake of his run-in with the law.
Ray Cited for Marijuana Possession
Tuesday, April 27
Brandon Kiley of KTGR in Columbia, Missouri, broke the news Monday:
David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune added further details, as did Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star:
Palmer added that Ray's court date is June 30. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network provided a statement from Ray about the news:
The report detailed what this means for Ray:
The move, which is determined by doctors independent of the NFL or the NFL Players Association, means Ray will not face any league discipline but is subject to random drug testing. The portion of the program he is enrolled in is designed to modify his behavior as it relates to substance abuse. That is a result of Ray's being charged not for using marijuana but for possession of the substance.
Bleacher Report insider Jason Cole weighed in on Ray's situation:
Ray racked up 22.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks this past season for Mizzou, and he is widely expected to be a first-round draft pick. This alleged off-field mishap may prevent Ray from hearing his name called April 30.
Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported he also failed a drug test at Missouri, which does not bode well for Ray:
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com discussed NFL teams' mindset regarding Ray:
During a recent TV appearance, Ray declared himself the best player at his prospective position of edge-rusher in a 2015 class that's loaded at that spot, per ESPN's First Take:
Dominik talked about what the arrest could mean for Ray's draft stock, according to Mike and Mike's official Twitter feed:
John Middlekauff of 95.7 The GAME provided his take on Ray's draft stock:
However, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported that one NFL executive doesn't expect Ray to fall very far in the draft after his citation.
Ray was one of the privileged few to be invited to Chicago's Auditorium Theatre for the draft itself, reinforcing the notion that he'd be selected in the top 32. Ray plans on attending the draft despite the citation, according to Rapoport.
No matter how talented Ray may be, character concerns can absolutely sink a player's stock. With such a reported lapse in judgment coming so close to the draft, this citation has to be discouraging for teams who liked what they saw from him in the evaluation process.
The unfortunate reported transgression certainly complicates Ray's NFL outlook. He has already been dealing with a toe injury but saw a doctor who said the ailment didn't require surgery, per Rapoport.
Even if Ray's physical health checks out well enough for teams to feel comfortable investing in him, his citation gives life to a different set of concerns.