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.
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.”
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.
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