New York Jets Draft Target: Randy Gregory

The New York Jets will pick 6th overall on April 30th in Chicago at the 2015 NFL Draft. After an active free agency that leaves any draft possibility on the table, what will they do? Let’s take a look at a round one target, EDGE defender Randy Gregory out of Nebraska…

* = top performer at NFL Combine

Height: 6’5
Weight: 235 lbs
Arm Length: 34′
40 yard  dash: 4.64
Vertical jump: 36.5 inches
Broad jump: 125 inches*
Bench Reps: 24

About:

Gregory was a standout JUCO performer at Arizona Western Community College where he recorded 82 total tackles, 21 for a loss, and 9 sacks as a freshman in 2011. He missed the entire 2012 season with a broken leg but was still heavily recruited.

In his two seasons at Nebraska Gregory recorded 29 tackles for a loss and 17.5 sacks. He had an interception in each of his seasons as a Cornhusker and finished 2014 as a third-team All-American (AP).

Strengths:

Gregory is tall and lean projected EDGE player at the next level that is known for getting after the quarterback. His progression from his sophomore to junior year at Nebraska was evident as he displayed a consistent pass rushing attack with a larger array of moves.

Strength #1: Length

At 6’5 and possessing 34′ arms, Gregory has all the length necessary to give offensive tackles fits. When timed right, his swim move is as pretty as it gets (as seen above).

If coached up properly at the next level, it will be hard for offensive lineman to get a grasp and win leverage vs. Gregory. He is too long and quick to anchor under, even with a frame that is not fully maxed out.


Strength #2: Motor and Intensity

 

Off-field issues (Gregory failed a drug test at the NFL combine) are often unfairly combined with what the player brings on the field. Make no mistake, Gregory plays extremely hard.

It’s hard to find him ever giving up on a play and he will chase down a ball carrier from the other side of the line.

Strength #3: Explosive Athlete

Gregory simply makes plays that other prospects in this class are flat out unable to. His ability to change direction, jump, or even fight with his long arms are what makes him a very unique prospect on film.

Weaknesses:

Weakness #1: Balance

At 6’5 and only 235 pounds, Gregory’s length can hurt him at times. When he breaks out of his stance, an initial punch or push by the pass protector catches him off balance far too often. This is a weakness that can be minimized as he works on using his long arms to keep tackles away from him.

Weakness #2: Leverage and Hand Use

A weakness that ties into his balance, Gregory can get caught playing too tall. When he uses his hands too late, the protection has an easier time driving him back or towards the ground as seen above.

Grade: 3rd ranked EDGE, 9th overall prospect, 1st round prospect

Bottom Line:

Randy Gregory is a unique pass rushing prospect that will most likely be worth the ‘risk’ for a team selecting in the top fifteen. His progression from his sophomore to junior season is a huge positive and his room to grow is even more promising.

Tackles are too athletic at the next level for marginal athletes to blossom into top tier pass rushers. At 6’5, the explosive Gregory has an Aldon Smith esque ceiling. With the failed NFL combine drug test and poor leverage, teams will question if the risk is worth the potential reward.

As for Todd Bowles defense with the New York Jets, Gregory fits the bill. Although the sample size is limited, he was successful when moved around and used as a stand up rusher. Ignoring the weight and watching the film – you have a player that does more than enough to hold his own against the run.

The red flags might be too big and prototypical system fits such as Dante Fowler Jr. and Bud Dupree may be preferred, but there is no doubt Randy Gregory is still in play for the Jets at 6th overall.