At the end of his 2015 season, Eastern defensive end Noah Spence was considered a top-10 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The AP FCS All-American wowed analysts with his talents on the field–and his persistence off the field. However, Colonel fans should not bet money on hearing NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell announce Spence’s name in the first 30 minutes, but instead wait patiently for the Jets pick at 20.
After a lifetime ban from the Big Ten Conference due to failed drug tests, Spence chose to forgo the NFL Draft to show scouts, and himself, that he could overcome his addiction to ecstasy and graduate as the best version of himself possible. His transfer to Eastern immediately improved the team, as he recorded 13.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss, as well as the opinion of many coaches, scouts and analysts.
Spence’s personal turnaround excited many scouts, and individual interviews with teams showed his dedication to walking down a straight and narrow path. However, Spence’s stock took a major hit after his lackluster 40-yard-dash performance at the NFL Combine. Spence quickly dropped to the late first or early second round in most mock drafts.
While this drop may seem like a huge deal, it is not a real indication of Spence’s talent, but how well Spence meshes with each team’s defense. At 6-foot-2, 251-pounds, Spence is not ideal for a 4-3 defense in which he must play standing. His consistent intensity throughout games and natural talent as an off the edge rusher makes Spence a perfect addition to any 3-4 defense.
Out of the 28 teams that visited Spence during Eastern’s Pro Day on March 4, only nine currently run a 3-4 defense and only four of those teams, the Colts, Chiefs, Jets and Steelers, desperately need defensive help, with the Jets and Colts consistently meeting with Spence.
Though Spence could definitely help the Colt’s defense, the team has much more to worry about offensively. This will likely open Spence up to an already talented Jets defense, sure to be a playoff-contender next season. Buy Jets gear and start memorizing the schedule, because it looks like Spence is going to New York.