The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 6 days. I will be there and in between now and then I’ll be doing a lot of work getting up to speed on the draft class of 2015. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.
What they’re saying:
What I liked: He is clearly a sight to behold with very long arms and a slender build that makes you think Aldon Smith as a possibility on the edge just ruining plays. He can be a very active pass rush guy and when he sees something in front of him, he has this explosive gear that is uncommon. They also try to move him around and he can either stand or put his hand down and has some Clay Matthews explosion and versatility from all sorts of spots.
What I did not like: I really look for a high motor in my front 7 defensive players . . . We will trade motor for ability to a certain point, but for the most part, I need a guy that is always chasing. I did not see that consistently from Gregory. Some weeks, every play looked important. Other weeks, it did not.
—Bob Strum, Dallas Morning News
How he fits the Redskins: Although the Redskins do have Ryan Kerrigan on one side of the line they could use a premiere pass rusher on the other side. They had 36 sacks in 2014 and 10 of them came in one game. If you throw out the Week 2 game against the lowly Jaguars they averaged just 1.6 sacks per game, well below the NFL average of 2.4 per team per game.
Getting Gregory, who said that he prefers to play standing up despite the fact that he played with his hand in the dirt most of the time in Nebraska’s 4-3 scheme, would allow the Redskins to utilize Trent Murphy in nickel situations.
In the mock draft that Mel Kiper released on Wednesday, he had Gregory going to the Redskins with the fifth pick in the draft. Kiper apparently is on board with the notion of the Redskins taking a pass rusher with their top pick. It may be a matter of choosing which of a few different prospects to take and Gregory certainly is in the mix.
The Redskins would want him to put on some weight to play the outside linebacker spot for them. Gregory said that he played at around 250 pounds at Nebraska and that he could get up to 270 if that’s what a team wanted. If he becomes a Redskin Jay Gruden and Joe Barry probably would be happy with him somewhere in the 250-260 range.
Potential issues: There are a few red flags with Gregory. One is the lack of a high motor that Strum talks about above. He also admitted that he got a case of “senioritis” his last year in high school, costing him his scholarship at Purdue. These certainly aren’t major issues but Scot McCloughan might look at them and question how much Gregory loves football.
There also has to be concern about the drop he had in production between his sophomore and junior years. Gregory went from 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss two years ago to seven and 10, respectively, last year. He said that it was because teams focused on stopping him more and the added attention given to him opened things up for his teammates. That is a claim that McCloughan will examine very closely on film.
On the injury front, he suffered a broken fibula just before what would have been his second season at Arizona Western Community College. That will be examined thoroughly by doctors in Indianapolis and possibly again when he visits teams in the spring.
Bottom line: There is a long way to go until the April 30 draft. McCloughan will put pass rushers Gregory, Shane Ray of Missouri, and Dante Fowler of Florida under the microscope between now and then and there is a chance he’ll take one of them. In his better moments Gregory has the ability to be worth the No. 5 pick. It could come down to a matter of McCloughan deciding if the team can correct some of Gregory’s issues or live with them.
Previously in Combine Countdown: