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Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence has climbed up the ranks the past few weeks, as some scouts have suggested that he would be a surefire top 10 pick if not for two failed drug tests that led to his dismissal from Ohio State in 2014. Now, after two very productive seasons in college, the mission for Spence is to convince teams that his issues are in the past and that he’s ready to be a professional, both on and off the field.

That was the main focus of his press conference on Friday at the NFL Combine. Spence, calmly and honestly, said he understood the concerns and is just working to convince teams that he’s grown from the situation.

Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence remains PewterReport.com's first-round pick for the Bucs - Photo by: Eric Dellaratta/PR

Photo by: Eric Dellaratta/PR

“I’m just telling the truth, my whole story and just not holding anything back,” Spence said. “I knew what I did. I knew why I was (at Eastern Kentucky) and I knew it was like a business trip for me. It’s a great school and I wanted to win, but I knew coming in there what I wanted to do and get out of the situation.

“For anybody whose had a substance abuse problem, (teams are) pretty wary about it. But if it’s behind you, and you convince a team that it’s behind you, then…”

Spence assured reporters that his drug issues were never an addiction, but rather a consequence of hanging out with the wrong people on a couple occasions. And while he was clearly remorseful, he believes the one silver lining in the situation is that he’s already proved that he can overcome adversity and that he got his mistakes out of the way early.

“It’s definitely huge for me, especially with all my drug tests,” Spence said of being clean in 2015. “I’m still being tested today. It shows that I’ve grown from the situation and tried my best to become a better person.”

When the questions finally shifted to football, Spence said that his biggest strengths are rushing the passer and his relentlessness on the field, which scouting reports would seem to agree with. The former Buckeye called run stopping and playing within the framework of the defense two things that he’s looking forward to improving. Asked if he is a risky pick, Spence answered confidently, “No, not at all.”

PewterReport.com had Spence to the Bucs at No. 9 overall in its second mock draft edition, published on February 1.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: zshapiro12@gmail.com
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Well I didn’t like his answers? He talks about having a substance abuse problem then the next paragraph he talks about the drug issues were never an addiction but instead hanging out with the wrong people on a couple occassions. This doesn’t sound like someone who understands he can’t ever use drugs or alcohol ever again. I’m not sure if I would draft him. I think we should consider moving on from him. I know this won’t be a popular position.

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

Drafting a player with a known drug/alcohol and party boy image didn’t stop the Browns when the took Johnny Football because they NEEDED a QB. Now they are at the top of the Draft hoping this time it turns out better. Likewise, those shrewd Cowboys bought Randy Gregory’s line of cow dung because they NEEDED to replace Demarcus Ware and are having regrets. Hopefully, if Jason Licht takes a chance on this talented player at #9, Spense doesn’t revert back to his Nights of Columbus ways with his signing bonus and become a very costly ex-Spence.

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

I’ll admit,I know little about most of these guys coming out. I’m not into figuring who should be drafted where. Knowing a little about life, kicking drug addiction, is harder then just growing up, as Jameis seems to have been able to do. A lot of talented players can’t even get off weed to stay in the league let alone powerful chemical drugs. However we do things in life when we’re young that we can’t believe we did now. Hopefully this kid keeps his life together, but for us, I’ll have to trust Licht, and company to make the right… Read more »

jme0151
jme0151
Reply to  surferdudes
5 years ago

Pretty much how I feel about this kid surf. Got to trust in GM and staff and their evaluation process. He is what buc’s need though as far as physical traits and abilities.

georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

The NFL Networth is Comparing SPENCE to K MACK and VONN MILLER.I said if Tampa is sitting at NO#9 and NOAH SPENCE is There that would be a NO BRAINER.I WOULD TAKE HIM OVER A CB.WE CAN GET CB IN RD_2. I would even go up aN GET hIM. go bucs I WOULD GO de/lb,RD-2 dt,rD-3cb,rd-4 de,rD-5 cb,rd-6 ot,rd-6 Ot.go bucs PLUS FA’S AVAILABLE.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  georgehicks
5 years ago

George, I watched what you just wrote about and I didn’t interpret the same thing you did. What I saw and heard was Spence wasn’t a Vonn Miller or Khil Mack. I wasn’t impressed with Spence performance nor the other Top 2 DE’s. I think we can grab just about the same type of DE in Round 2. Of course i don’t have any of the film skills the scouts and coaches have so this is just my opinion. I think I would make a call to Dallas and see if we could swap spots with them for Glennon as… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

I had the same thought Horse.

BucWild02
BucWild02
5 years ago

While I am not a huge fan of Spence going to the Bucs at #9, there is a world of difference between using ecstasy or Molly with the wrong crowd at a dance club and using pot. First, pot is something closer to booze or cigarettes where people who use it, often use it regularly. Plus, with pot, even a small amount smoked will stay in your system for about a month. That said, I am not against pot, but if the league tests for it and its banned, you have a much higher likelihood of testing positive for it… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  BucWild02
5 years ago

Thanks for the info BucWildwood Weed.

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  scubog
5 years ago

Heck, I don’t even drink, much less do drugs of any kind. I just don’t think Spence is in the same category as Randy Gregory, Aldon Smith, Josh Gordon, etc. Those potheads can’t quit even if it costs them millions.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  BucWild02
5 years ago

BucWold02; thanks for the info and I will soften my stance a little on Spence; I still didn’t see much out of the combine from him.

ayron54
ayron54
5 years ago

Ramsey looked dynamite! He seems like the playmaker we are looking for! I say we move up and grab him at whatever it takes. We have proven corners…theyjust need coaching and grom what have been reading our DE jaq smith is due to break out! Lets not let another Bennett situation occur! Please! Go bucs!

Pick6
Pick6
5 years ago

spence proved it with a year of clean tests. this is different than randy gregory who flunked AT THE COMBINE, or manziel who not just refused to apologize for his choices but instead defended them as his right. he would not be the first or last kid to not know where the line should be drawn in his first year or so of college. i don’t have any special knowledge of the kid beyond what i read here on PR, but jameis had the same sort of problem before he realized being a college football player was a very different… Read more »

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