Written By: Jake Leicht
Rashan Gary: Defensive Lineman, Michigan
Weight (lbs): 283 lbs
Career Stats: 35 Games
137 Tackles, 10.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 24 TFL
Strengths: Rashan Gary is one of the most versatile defensive lineman in the 2019 NFL Draft. NFL teams will be looking at him to either play a 3-technique on the defensive line or feature him as an edge rusher. It would probably make the most sense for a potential team to want him to be featured as an edge rusher given the fact that they are more difficult to come by in today’s NFL world. Gary uses a combination of strength and quickness to make plays in both the pass and run game. The Michigan product is also a very good tackler in both the open field and at the line of scrimmage. Gary has proven that he is able to run down opposing ball carriers or simply tackle them head on with his powerful frame. He has a quick first step off of the line of scrimmage, which makes him very effective against opposing offensive lineman. Add on the fact that Gary has heavy hands and it should be fairly apparent that some NFL team will draft him very highly in April.
Weaknesses: Although Gary has the physical tools to be a dominant defensive lineman, his stats at Michigan didn’t exactly reflect his skillset. He battled some nagging injuries throughout his college career as well. Gary has unique athleticism that he flashed on his film, but one aspect of his game that needs some work is his bend around the corner in his pass rush game. Other edge rushers in this class such as Jachai Polite and Brian Burns have the ability to bend around opposing offensive linemen and really pressure the quarterback, and Gary needs to prove he can add that to his game. Some talent evaluators have questioned Gary’s motor at various times in his career. I personally think that he flashed a very high motor at points at Michigan, so I think he will really answer some of his critics with a strong showing at the Combine.
NFL Team Fits:
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders pick number 4 overall in April, and I think Rashan Gary could be a great fit for them. Oakland needs a pass rusher that can really get after the quarterback. Gary would be a perfect fit for a Raiders’ defensive unit that could utilize his versatility multiple ways. Rashan will blow up at the Combine, probably running in the mid to low 4.6s for his 40 time. I could imagine Mark Davis salivating at Gary’s potential, and he could ultimately wind up picking him early on in the 2019 NFL Draft. Gruden just needs playmakers on the defensive side of the football, and Gary fits that mold.
Detroit Lions: Like the Oakland Raiders, the Detroit Lions are in dire need of a pass rusher immediately. The Lions will probably let former number 5 overall pick Ezekiel Ansah walk in free agency, so they will most certainly have Rashan Gary on the radar. Given the fact that Gary went to school right down the road at the University of Michigan, Detroit has to have some pretty good intel on the type of person and prospect that he is. If Rashan Gary were to fall to them at pick 8 this April, I would be surprised if Matt Patricia passed up on the opportunity to add him to his defensive unit.
Miami Dolphins: Like both of the teams mentioned previously, the Dolphins need a pass rusher in the worst way. First off, Miami has to play Tom Brady twice a year. They have to be able to put pressure on him if they ever want to overtake New England in the AFC East. The Dolphins best two pass rushers are Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake. Wake is 37 years old, and he is obviously on the last legs of his career. The two pass rushers also combined for only 12.5 sacks in 2018. Sure, the Dolphins need a quarterback, but I am not sure there will be a franchise signal caller available at pick number 13 overall. With new incoming coach Brian Flores ready to take over the defensive unit, Rashan Gary would be a great piece for him to build around in Miami if he were available to them.