Shane Ray, one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft, could see his stock plummet because of a last-minute citation for marijuana possession.
The pass rusher was pulled over for speeding in Missouri early Monday morning when a police officer searched his car and found a small amount of marijuana, according to ESPN. Ray was issued a citation and was able to drive himself from the scene. He apologised in a statement and confirmed he was not impaired.
Experts are speculating that Ray will fall significantly in the draft because of the incident.
A couple of days ago, Ray seemed like a consensus mid-first round pick.
As of Monday morning, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier had Ray going 21st to the Cincinnati Bengals, citing only injury concerns. Tanier wrote, “Ray will not fall out of the first round.”
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter had Ray going 21st to the Bengals as well as of Friday, April 24.
On CBS Sports’ mock draft, all four analysts had Ray going in the first round, the lowest projection putting him at 24th, the highest putting him at 12th.
However, things seemed to have changed in light of Ray’s arrest. MMQB’s Peter King said he originally had Ray going 16th to the Houston Texans before the incident. King, who reports Ray also once failed a drug test in college, says he spoke to three different team officials who said Ray is likely a late first-round pick now, with one saying he thinks Ray will fall to the second round. King moved Ray from 16th to the 32nd pick with the New England Patriots in his mock draft.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” that Ray’s citation changes how teams will look at him:
“This changes Shane Ray dramatically because it’s, to me, such a poor decision this close to the draft. It’s the decision making. What is this guy going to do on Friday or Saturday night before a big game? Is he going to make another poor choice like this? The timing is so bad, and the foot issue, tells me that this guy isn’t just dropping out of the first round, he’s dropping to the third or fourth round now.”
Dominik added, “I don’t see any way he’s going in the first round.”
An NFL GM told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman that teams take marijuana-related incidents seriously:
NFL GM to me this morning on pot: “We don’t take it lightly because the league tests for it. Ask Josh Gordon about taking pot lightly.”
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) April 28, 2015
Ray could see a big dip in his earnings as a rookie if he falls as far as some people are predicting. Though rookie contracts change based on the salary cap and the Rookie Compensation Pool, Spotrac.com’s list of rookie salaries creates a good general guide of what rookies will earn in 2015.
If Ray went 15th, a mid-first-round pick, he would have earned around $US9.5 million over four years. If Ray becomes a late first-round pick, say 32nd as Peter King predicts, he’d earn about $US6.8 million over four years. If he falls as far as the third round, like Dominik said, he’d see a major decline in his contract. Last year, the first pick of the third round — the 65th pick of the entire draft — received a four-year, $US3.1 million contract.
Some projections don’t see Ray falling that far down in the draft. But in light of foot injuries and a marijuana citation, Ray could potentially scare off several teams, fall several rounds, and lose millions of dollars in the process.
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