Yesterday, NFL teams received the list of players who failed drug tests at the combine in February, and BJ Raji's name was not on said list.
Here are some quotes from the story:
“Now, I’m happy the truth is out,” Raji said in an interview April 6 when he visited with 49ers team officials. “Obviously, it’s not going to be as big of a splash as the negative part. But as long as the coaches and the decision-makers know what is true, then I don’t need to be concerned with everybody else."
Will the fact that he was rumored to have failed a test impact his draft status?
Brian Billick -
“I don’t think there’s any question it will affect his draft status,” said NFL Network analyst and former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick. “Hopefully, this should be able to stabilize, but it’s the innuendos. The damage is done. I think it’s a grave concern for the league.”
Charley Casserly -
“I’d be surprised if he does not go in the top 10,” Casserly said. “If he had tested positive at the combine, I’d be surprised if he did go in the top 10...“There are some questions in his history. I think there are some teams that will shy away from this player, but I’m not sure it will be a team in the top 10.”
Tom Cable -
“A lot of that, though, is really speculation,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said. “None of those things are really real, other than maybe the injury to Crabtree. Some of those other things, they are what they are, but when you really dig down and look at it, they’re probably OK. They’re probably OK in the way that they’re evaluated and the way everybody sees them.”
Wow, Billick sounds like he's still head coach of the Ravens and praying Raji drops into the mid 20's. I can't see how a false story cleared up a week in advance of the draft is going to negatively impact Raji's draft status. He's the most dominant defensive lineman in the draft, has no other off-field concerns, and I see several teams in the top 10 (KC, OAK, JAX, and GB at a minimum) who could really use his presence along their defensive front.
I still have Raji at #3 to the Chiefs and expect to hear whispers of his stock rising as we head closer to this weekend.