Jan 1, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Shane Ray (56) drops an orange while jugging in front of defensive lineman Markus Golden (33) as the Tigers beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers 33-17 in the 2015 Citrus Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
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The Jets have shown a clear direction during free agency. They have rebuilt the defensive secondary with Marcus Gilchrist, Buster Skrine, Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis. They have added depth along the offensive line. They added an elite wide receiver threat in Brandon Marshall. They have even added Ryan Fitzpatrick to compete with Geno Smith.
With these moves, the strategy for the draft is coming into focus for the New York Jets. They are in dire need of a dominant edge pass rusher. Adding a player like that to the already talented front seven, and the new secondary, could just make the Jets defense a dominant one once again.
We have taken a look at three big pass rushers, Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler, and Vic Beasley. But, there is another top prospect that has fallen behind in the attention department, in part because an injury kept him out of the Combine. But, we are going to talk about him today.
Today’s profile is Shane Ray from Missouri.
Next: College Stats
Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers running backTre Mason
(21) runs against Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Shane Ray (56) and linebacker Darvin Ruise (12) during the third quarter of the 2013 SEC Championship game at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
As always, we take a look at the college career to get started. Here is a look at Shane Ray’s time in Missouri:
Defense & Fumbles
Shane Ray is a player that lived in opposing backfields. Look at his 2014 stats. Approximately 1/3 of his tackles recorded were for losses of yardage. For his career, Ray posted 120 tackles, 34 of them for a loss. That is over 1/4 of his tackles going for a loss. Add 19 sacks to that, and you have a player that dominated over three years.
Next: NFL Combine and Pro Day
Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive lineman Shane Ray talks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately, an injury preventing Shane Ray from being a full participant in the NFL Combine. The only drill Ray completed was the bench press, in which he completed 21 reps. At Missouri Pro day, Ray was clocked between 4.55-4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted a 33-inch vertical jump and 10-foot broad jump. Sources say that he looked “explosive” during pass rushing drills.
Here are Ray’s strengths and weaknesses from his NFL.com profile:
STRENGTHS: Explosive athlete in every sense. Has elite power for his size and explodes off the line like a coiled spring. Rushes passer with extreme passion and purpose. Has fast, violent hands with advanced understanding of how to use them. Tough and plays with bad intentions on each snap. Uses rip to get under linemen and out-leverage them. Played 4-3 defensive right end in base but rushed from three-technique in some sub-packages. Once he gets to blocker’s edge, they struggle to recover and redirect. Rare ability to post inside leg and get his body turned sharply and quickly around it toward quarterback. Excellent change-of-direction talent. Has natural coordination of head fakes, footwork and hand usage in pass rush. Works hard to stand his ground against power. Has power in upper body and hips to punch and dispatch with tight ends against run. Rarely runs past the arc as a rusher and will fight to come back underneath if he gets on the high side. Was able to drop into space with no issues when asked.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks ideal length as an outside rusher. At times was engulfed and glued to the bigger tackles he faced. Can get too focused on hand fighting if he doesn’t win with hands early in pass rush. Will occasionally stunt himself out of a play, opening up running lane. If rushing from inside, must learn to set up teammates when running “T/E” (tackle first, end under) twists. Relies on arm-over inside and slap/rip outside — needs more variety to pass rush.
Video and final thoughts on the next page.
Next: Video and Final Thoughts
The first thing I notice here is the versatility of Shane Ray. He can play anywhere on the line with his hand in the dirt. This type of versatility will serve Ray well in the pros. He also has a very high motor. There was one play on that tape where he was crawling after the quarterback. Ray doesn’t give up on a play, he is relentless. I like the way Ray can use his hands to get to the quarterback. His technique is quite good, he gets those hands up quickly, to move his opponent’s hands and get leverage.
Ray needs to expand his pass rushing arsenal a bit. In looking at that tape, if he can’t beat his opponent with his hands, Ray sometimes has difficulty getting around him. Ray should develop a swim move, a spin move..etc. He also can end up in the wrong lane on a running play by overplaying a stunt rush technique. He would loop around to try to get to the passer, but end up leaving a gaping hole to run through at times.
Ray seemed also a bit clunky when dropping into pass coverage, which could limit him as an every down player at the start.
I am not sure if Shane Ray belongs in the top ten, but if they trade down, the Jets could do a lot worse.