IRVING, Texas- There was a specific reason Randy Gregory fell all the way from a potential top 10 pick to the Cowboys at No. 60. And it reared its head Friday as the club learned Gregory will be suspended four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Gregory's stock fell dramatically when he failed a drug test at the combine in Indianapolis nearly a year ago. Gregory was immediately placed in the NFL's rehabilitation program, which requires regular testing throughout the season.
This will mark the second straight season the Cowboys will be without Gregory for at least four games early in the year. In 2015, the rookie from Nebraska suffered a high-ankle sprain in the opening win over the Giants. He was out of action for five games before returning to action against the Giants.
Gregory played 12 games but did not record a sack after registering three in the preseason. However, he did finish fourth on the team with 16 pressures.
This setback creates even more uncertainty at the defensive end position for the Cowboys, who already have three ends expected to hit free agency next month: Greg Hardy, Jeremy Mincey and Jack Crawford. DeMarcus Lawrence also underwent back surgery in January but is not expected to miss any of the regular season.
While the Cowboys likely won't change their usual "best player available" approach in the draft, it could make pass rushers such as Ohio State's Joey Bosa a higher priority with the No. 4 pick in the April draft.