Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
One thing we learned last weekend, as we have talked about, is that Mike Maccagnan has a plethora of talented football players to choose from with the number six pick. Whether they want to go on the offensive side or defensive side of the football, the talent is there, and it is plentiful. As long as the Jets do their due diligence, which Mike Maccagnan and company will do, they will choose an impact player with the sixth pick.
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One position they are looking to improve is the edge pass rusher. Anyone who viewed the Combine knows that three pass rushers stood high above the others. Today we are going to look at one of them.
We are going to look at Randy Gregory from Nebraska.
Next: College Stats
Dec 27, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive end Randy Gregory (4) looks on before the game against the USC Trojans in the 2014 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s take a look at Gregory’s stats from his years at Nebraska:
Defense & Fumbles
Randy Gregory is another guy that made his career in the opposing backfield. 25.5 tackles for losses and 17.5 sacks are both huge numbers. For the amount of tackles Gregory posted (120), his percentage of TFL’s was huge. This is a dominant football player, ready to make an impact at the next level.
Next: Combine Performance
Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nebraska defensive lineman Randy Gregory talks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s take a look at some of Gregory’s work done at the Combine last weekend.
He measured 6’5″ tall, and weighed in at 235 pounds. His arms were 34 inches long, which helps get his hands on his opponent first. He led the position in the broad jump, flying 125 inches, telling us that Gregory is a guy that can explode off of the line of scrimmage.
Here are his strengths and weakness from his draft profile:
STRENGTHS: Tall with long levers and a lean, sinewy build. Batted down four passes in 2014. Stronger than expected at point of attack. Able to lock out and stay square against big offensive tackles and can whip most tight ends. Unhinges and gets tentacles on running backs bursting through gap. Room for more thickness on long frame. Competitive and shows toughness against run. Can chase and limit outside runs with speed. Secondary motor to stay in hunt downfield as tackler. Explosive hips. Gets instant change of direction to hound quarterbacks in play-action. Played standing up and with hand in ground. Rushed occasionally from ILB spot. Stride and second gear for quick close. Has bend and hips to convert speed to power. Showed improved timing and understanding of how to set up inside pass-rush move as season progressed. Hands are a blur. Explosive play traits to overwhelm technically deficient tackles. Can counter and recover from cut blocks. Flashes plus hand-feet coordination. As blitzer from ILB, will coil and explode into guard on contact step. More than tough enough. Willing to take on pulling guards with low pad level and aggressive pop.
WEAKNESSES: Thin through trunk and will play with a narrow base, causing balance issues. Almost always last player out of his stance at snap. Technique and feel as pass rusher lacking at this point. Thinks rather than plays. Takes occasional false steps as stand-up rusher. Time-waster. Too much time stutter-stepping tackles rather than exploding upfield. Fails to stress the high side of tackles to get them rocking. Makes it too easy for tackles to quick-set him. Plays man in front of him rather than “seeing through” to quarterback. Lacks creativity as rusher. Gets punched with his shoulders still squared rather than on an angle, which robs ability to turn edge. Doesn’t process what he sees very quickly. Marginal play strength in pass rush and can be redirected. Was manhandled by Wisconsin blockers on two long touchdown runs by Melvin Gordon.
As always, highlights and final thoughts on the next page.
Next: Highlights and Final Thoughts
Randy Gregory has a great motor. He doesn’t give up on a play, and chases down the ball carrier relentlessly. Even when he is engaged with a blocker, he doesn’t give up and fights through. Gregory is clearly fast. If he gets the step on his opponent, he is by. Gregory is athletic, and a strong tackler.
He doesn’t have a great array of pass rushing moves at this point. I love the way he gets his hands on the opponent first, using his long arms to get the jump on his man. But if Gregory needs to run a power rush, he has a more difficult time getting past the blocker. To me, part of that is his small frame, which does need to increase. I project Gregory more as an outside linebacker than a defensive end, but he is clearly talented.
At the moment, I would prefer Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler, but if the Jets choose Randy Gregory, they will certainly be choosing an impact player, likely from day one.