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Michigan junior defensive end Rashan Gary announced he was foregoing his final season of eligibility with the Wolverines last week to enter the NFL Draft.
According to many mock drafts, Gary will likely be a high first-round draft pick. Here’s what some NFL draft analysts think about Gary and his draft prospects.
“He’s immensely talented,” said Dane Brugler, the Athletic’s NFL Draft writer. “He’s really unique with what he can do on the football field because of his athleticism. For such a big guy, he’s going to put up ridiculous numbers at the combine. I think that even though his season didn’t go as quite planned mostly because of his injuries, when he was healthy, you can’t helped but be impressed with the tape that he put together.”
It’s not only Gary’s physical skillset that impresses scouts. Eric Galko, the president of Optimum Scouting, said NFL scouts have told him that they like Gary’s character from when they’ve come through Ann Arbor and talked with him.
He also said he has liked how Gary has developed over the course of his three seasons.
“Obviously on the field, anyone can watch a Michigan game and be really impressed with Rashan Gary,” Galko said. “He’s consistently continued to improve as well as his mental makeup and leadership ability are what NFL teams are most excited about.”
Galko said that a lot of players with Gary’s athletic profile struggle in run defense, but he said that Gary doesn’t, which makes him attractive to NFL teams.
“It’s the complete core body strength that he offers and his ability to win as a run defender and pass rusher stems from that. It’s the ability to do more than just win in isolation, but take
advantage of those plays one-on-one, stay tight to a lineman and find a way to burst out and get to the backfield.”
Gary played primarily at defensive end while at Michigan, but NFL teams might like him for his versatility and ability to move inside to defensive end at times.
“I think he’s going to be an edge rusher, but I do think because he is north of 280 pounds and he does play a powerful, blunt football, you can kick him inside, especially on passing downs when you want to get your best pass rushers on the field,” Brugler said. “Kick him inside and let him use that initial quickness to invade gaps.”
CBS Sports draft analyst Chris Trapasso thought Gary should have played defensive tackle.
“I personally thought he was playing out of position,” Trapasso said. “He probably should have played more defensive tackle than defensive end at Michigan.”
While Trapasso thinks Gary will be a first-round pick, he was a little underwhelmed by Gary’s play for the Wolverines.
“Relative to how prized of a recruit he was, most websites had him as the number one overall recruit in the nation when he came out, was somewhat disappointed not only with his career at Michigan, but where his actual game is in terms of his skillset going to the next level,” Trapasso said.
Trapasso thought that Gary relied too much on his physical skills rather than growing his technique.
“He did lean on that athleticism at Michigan and wasn’t great with his pass rushing moves,” Trapasso said. “Didn’t have a counter move.”
While Trapasso was down on Gary’s development, he said because of Gary’s size and athleticism, he will likely be one of the most sought after prospects in a strong defensive line class. He said Gary would take time in his first seasons to learn the necessary moves to be successful.
Brugler said that Gary is expected to be a top-ten pick heading into the draft season. The only reason why he said Gary could not be picked there is if Gary’s injury lingers or a red flag pops up during the interview process.
“The talent is there,” Brugler said. “Some it’s unrealized at this point, it’s still a lot of upside when you talk about him.