I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.)
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri - 6'3, 250 - Age 22
It is clear at Missouri they have a pipeline to pass rushers, as last year Kony Ealy and Michael Sam were all the rage, and one year later, here comes Ray and Markus Golden to also push into the draft. I want to be careful here with those numbers above. We think he is about 250 pounds, but his weigh-in at the combine is going to really affect his perception as much as anyone in the draft. It is vital that he shows the NFL he can be big enough to deal with the run and maintain his absurd explosion that he showed on film. I will always error on the side of what he did on a college field over the "underwear olympics" in the spring, but I will admit that sitting out the Senior Bowl and trying to bulk up is not a bad idea for his camp. He is thought of as potentially the best pass rusher in the entire draft. I watched the Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas A&M games.
What I liked: He is the real deal as an edge rusher with quickness and overall explosion that is just silly. There are times where you wonder what the left tackle across from him must be thinking because in the case of the Kentucky game in particular, that poor guy was overmatched all day. He draws holding calls on a regular basis because his "get-off" is so impressive. At his size, he is just too quick for offensive linemen to deal with. Especially, when Missouri would stunt him inside and get him isolated against a guard. That was a no contest. He rallies to the ball well. He has a swat move where he can knock guys off balance by just using one arm to push them aside. He may be undersized, but unlike Nebraska's Gregory, Ray appears to be very strong for his size. He can move larger men with one arm. He lines up all over as RDE, LDE, and even DT. He produced a silly 36 explosion plays in 2014 (Sacks + Tackles For Loss).
What I did not like: It is true that stopping the run will not be his forte. He does get pushed inside when a team wants to run to his edge. We need to make sure he can be an every down DE in the NFL in the 4-3, or teams will consider him another OLB in the 3-4. I think he has the tools to do either, but this could get him flagged as a potential tweener who is without a true position. He lost his mind in the SEC Championship Game and got ejected for a cheap shot, so he better be able to answer those questions this spring about composure and overall football IQ.
Summary: He is a legitimate 10-12 sack guy in the NFL. I have no problem expecting him to be one of the true risers in the spring and if he gets in to that 4.5, 40 range, he might be gone in the first hour of the draft. Keep in mind, before the snipers argue about Michael Sam, that Ray is so much faster than Sam that there is no comparison whatsoever. Sam ran a 4.91 at the combine. Ray is a physical freak. He has a full arsenal of pass rush moves already. This guy will really help a team's pass rush the moment he arrives.