Shane Ray   LB/DE   Missouri

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Shane shows on film the athleticism, speed, agility and football intelligence to be an impact defensive lineman in a 4-3 defense or a DE/OLB in a 3-4 defense. He has quick lateral agility to be used in coverage in the passing game, but that would be foolish because his speed and quickness along with his upper body strength make him a pass rushing demon. Shane loves to get double and tripled teamed and his effort against it when that happens is outstanding. He shows leadership skills through his play on the field and is an excellent teammate who will do the dirty work of taking on blockers to have his teammates make plays. He has solid athletic talent to be used on stunts and in different blitzing packages. He has the burst and change of direction skills of a linebacker and is big enough to defend against the run and rush the passer. Along with his athletic talent, Shane shows a work ethic now that will make him a star at the next level with room to still improve.

CONCERNS
Shane has improved dramatically this year against the run, but still needs to get stronger in his lower body and become more consistent using his techniques. His anticipation and reading of the run coming to his side has been much better and his down and distance understanding has improved as well. The question is will he continue to put the effort in to improve once he is drafted? With his type of talent, size and athleticism you would have expected him to be more on the field before this year because there was a defensive end who played on this team last year that didn’t have the natural talent, size or athleticism equal to that of Shane.

BOTTOM LINE
Shane has NFL talent and for him not to beat out players before him last year who did not have obvious NFL talent is disturbing. Maybe it was because his coaches played favorites or for other reasons, but it does concern me and in an interview I would want to know the reason. If Shane says it was his fault and he changed his ways of working, I’m all for drafting him very early in this draft. If he doesn’t take responsibility for not being on the field and says or gives other excuses, you kind of have to take a chance when you select him because he could take the money and run. Of course that’s a big concern with a lot of young players coming out in the draft as well as in free agency and you have to realize that at times that’s the cost of doing business. In Shane’s case, there is too much talent and there was too much production and improvement all during this year to split hairs and worry too much why Shane wasn’t on the field or forcing himself onto the field earlier than this year. Clay Matthews was in the same situation as Shane was when he was at USC (playing with players who were excellent players), but Clay’s teammates were mostly drafted in the first and second round. In spite of Clay being a part time player on that heavily “player drafted team”, Clay was still selected in the first round that year. So Shane didn’t get on the field that much before this year, but this year the improvement is dramatic enough to take a chance and select Shane very early in this draft. At least I think so.

Drew Boylhart
DEC/2014