Does Past Ecstasy Use Make Noah Spence Too Risky to Pick in 1st Round?

Noah Spence
Dan Leberfeld

MOBILE—While any NFL defensive coordinator would be ecstatic to have Noah Spence, his past ecstasy use may scare off some general managers.

At the Senior Bowl, the Eastern Kentucky defensive end made himself a lot of money. He dominated practices and registered a sack in the game.

With so many teams needing pass rushers, he should be in demand. Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.

Spence started his college career at Ohio State, but in November, 2014, he was ruled permanently ineligible by the Big Ten for testing positive for ecstasy on two occasions. The first failed test came right before the 2014 Orange Bowl, knocking him out of that important game.

Ecstasy (MDMA) is a “psychedelic amphetamine” that purportedly generates feelings of comfort, empathy, and physical connection to others. It’s very popular at dance clubs.

Spence transferred to 1-AA Eastern Kentucky, where he dominated in 2015, finishing with 11.5 sacks. But his time in Richmond, Kentucky, passed not without incident. In May, 2015, he was arrested for public intoxication, after shattering a wine bottle on the sidewalk.

Since that indiscretion, he’s been well-behaved, and claims he’s a changed man.

“I’ve grown up a lot,” Spence said in Mobile. “I’ve matured like no other. It’s been a great experience just going through all this and feeling how it feels to be at the bottom and then having to work my way back up.”

Spence is going to lead to some sleepless nights for NFL GMs before the draft. Is his substance problem in the past? Is he truly a changed man?

Because if he isn’t, picking him in the first round could hurt a GM’s job security.


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