NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear. I never meant to focus my scouting reports on pass rushers, but here I am about to write my third report in a row on a pass rusher. Randy Gregory was a guy on my radar last year after he burst on the scene in the Big 10. It is looking more and more like Gregory will be long gone before the Patriots pick, but I wanted to put his game up against the other pass rushers I think or more likely to fall into the Patriots range. After watching several games from this year and last, here is what I saw.
Name: Randy Gregory(#4)
School: Junior, University of Nebraska
Weight: 255 lbs.
It seems to be a recurring theme, but once again we have a player with impressive size and length with a frame that can theoretically add weight without sacrificing athleticism. Along with Gregory’s impressive size, he is extremely athletic and fluid in his movements. He shows impressive straight line speed as well as maintaining his speed when changing direction. He has shown good flexibility and bend in his knees and ankles when rushing around the edge. Gregory also uses a good variety of pass rush moves including a bull rush, a nice swim move, and spin move. He has a good punch and uses his hands well to keep opposing lineman off of him. He shows a decent first step and burst at the snap of the ball. Gregory has a high motor and continues to pursue plays down field. Gregory also played standing up or with his hand in the ground, showing his potential scheme flexibility at the next level. I like him better as a 3-4 OLB but I could see him as a 4-3 DE as well. Gregory is a player that teams must game plan for and is disruptive play in and play out. In the play below, you see Gregory use a great swim move and then continue his pursuit to come back and make the interception.
Gregory did get injured in the first game of the year and had a procedure done to his knee, so that could explain some of the negative things that are showing up on film. In the Michigan State, Miami and even at times in the Rutgers game he struggled to disengage from opposing lineman. His leg drive and power seem to be lacking and at times it looks like he was just “dancing” with the offensive lineman. In the 2014 film, he also seemed a little slower at the snap when he had his hand in the ground. There were also times when he was getting pushed back off the line of scrimmage on run plays as well. These concerns really did not show up in the 2013 film. Gregory is raw physically and will need to add weight to his frame and get stronger to hold up in the NFL. I want to give Gregory the benefit of the doubt and continue to monitor his games to see if the explosion and his attack return. In the play below, you see Michigan State run right at him and the left tackle is able to push him back several yards, allowing them to get the first down.
Gregory was one of the prospects I was most excited to watch coming into this season. His 2013 film showed a guy with rare athletic talent that could be a force both as a pass rusher and as a run stopper and a player who could convert speed to power, which is a rare trait to have and something every team wants. I think some of his struggles are the result of the early season injury that has not fully recovered. He has some games coming up against some high profile offensive lineman, so hopefully we will see a fully recovered Gregory. Many draftniks I respect have Gregory as a sure fire top 5 to 10 pick and between his rare attributes and flashes on tape, I can see why. You can clearly see that teams game plan for Gregory and know where he is at on the field at all times. Gregory commands double and sometimes even triple teams. If he can add some strength to go along with his fluid speed and athleticism, he could be a special force in the NFL.