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- Position: Edge Rusher (ER)
- Class: Junior (redshirt)
- College: Nebraska
- Ht/Wt: 6'5", 235 pounds
Randy Gregory is a scary player. He's a long, lean, and athletic edge rusher who has some technical flaws to his game. Even with those, he's still a dangerous threat to an offense. Gregory has excellent short-area quickness and fluid hips. He bends the edge well at times, and closes in a hurry for the sack. An active hand fighter with a powerful punch and a good swim move, he keeps tackles busy on every play.
While Gregory has great height and long arms, he doesn't try getting his hands in passing lanes when he can't reach the quarterback. He has trouble disengaging his arms from linemen, and it's usually because he doesn't extend them fully when he moves in after the snap. Gregory needs to do a better job keeping linemen at a distance. He could also stand to develop his pass rush moves further across the board, and get more creative in games. He has the tendency to get locked into attacking a specific side of a lineman, and never bringing a counter into the equation. Gregory's snap anticipation is extremely inconsistent, and he's sometimes the last player to move after the snap. While he wasn't really used in coverage much, he has the athleticism to handle limited work there, but he'll have to learn the trade first.
When I watch Gregory, the thought in the back of my mind is to compare him with the last tall, athletic edge rusher who had trouble keeping weight on: Dion Jordan. I wasn't at all a fan of Jordan, and so far he has yet to start significantly contributing in the NFL. Gregory, too, feels like a player who will fail to make an impact if he heads to certain teams. He'll probably struggle to maintain weight in his career, which will affect his ability to stop the run as a down lineman. He might be most effective as a moving chess piece in a creative defensive scheme. But there are also technique refinements needed before he can get there.
Then there's the matter of his drug habits. Gregory failed his Combine drug test, which takes a special level of oversight, given that every player knows months in advance that they will be tested at the event. He also reportedly failed several drug tests in his time at Nebraska. Like other players with drug habits, he could own up to his problems and overcome them or continue down his current path. With that uncertainty added to the mix, I have him graded as a late second, early third round player. I still wouldn't be surprised if he ends up going in the first round, though.