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GM: 'I don't know' if I can trust NFL draft prospect Noah Spence


INDIANAPOLIS -- Noah Spence's spectacular performance the week of the Reese's Senior Bowl made him a much hotter prospect for the 2016 NFL Draft, but his performance at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine has cooled things for the former Eastern Kentucky star.

Already facing difficult questions about his history with drugs, Spence ran a disappointing 4.80 40-yard dash on Sunday -- fast enough for a bigger defensive lineman, but not what NFL scouts would have hoped for from an edge rusher like Spence (6-foot-2, 254 pounds).

"Perhaps now we can stop the narrative that he's going to be a first-round pick," an NFL source told NFL Media's Kimberly Jones, with another adding he "didn't see anything special."

According to Jones, multiple clubs thought Spence's interviews were "very shaky." That doesn't bode well for a player who had to convince teams that his failed drug tests are behind him.

In other drills, Spence's 35-inch vertical jump was just a half-inch off the pace for his position (Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah, 35.5), but overall, Sunday was something of a momentum killer for Spence's evaluation.

"What kind of explosion does (Spence) have versus Khalil Mack, who lit it up here (at the combine), and Von Miller, who lit it up here, and then lit up the NFL? His 35-inch (vertical) was in the ballpark, but his broad jump hasn't been, and I thought his 40 was disappointing," said NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock on NFL Network. "4.8? I thought he'd be somewhere between 4.65 and 4.7. It will be interesting to see if he can improve that."

In a draft that is much deeper with defensive tackle prospects than edge rushers, Spence has a better chance to maintain first-round status because there is less draft competition for his role.

"When you look at the Super Bowl and (conference) championship games, it was pass rush. You have to have a pass rush, guys who can win one-on-one matchups. He's got that unique ability to win one-on-one matchups," an NFL general manager told Jones, who then asked if Spence is trustworthy.

"I don't know yet," the GM said.

More than likely, Spence will run again at Eastern Kentucky's pro day in hopes of improving his time. But with the EKU pro day scheduled for March 4, he doesn't have much time to train further.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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