Position: Defensive End
Ray has one of the quickest get offs you will ever see and is incredibly twitched up. He is devastating when kicked inside on passing downs using his great quickness to blow by slower interior OL. He not only has supremely quick foot fire, he keeps them moving on contact consistently. Has fluid hips to redirect and does so extremely fast. His central nervous system is incredibly in-tuned with his body, enabling him to coordinate his movements with precision. He has very good ankle flexion around the edge and but lacks adequate bend to consistently run a tight loop.
Section Grade: 7.3
Pride / Quit
Ray is incredibly aggressive in everything he does. In the tapes I watched, Ray would leave for a few plays at a time with what appeared to be stingers, but would return with vengeance when he checked back in. In the ’14 Florida tape Ray blew by the LT for an easy sack but left the field grimacing in pain favoring his right shoulder. On the same drive he returned on 3rd & 9 to blow by the LT again for a sack/FF. On obvious passing downs Ray is a predator who regularly gets pressure. While his 2014 season was off the charts productive, as a one year starter he didn’t get an opportunity to produce as much as you’d like to see in terms of a career. Ray regularly and enthusiastically congratulates teammates on the big plays they make. Perhaps his most redeeming quality is his outstanding motor. The ’14 Kentucky tape is the best example. He is a relentless football player who risks his body and plays snap to whistle consistently.
Section Grade: 7.5
Learn / Retain
Instinct / Reaction
Ray is very instinctual in terms of reading the play even when engaged with blockers and has very active eyes to see whats happening around him. His reaction speed is exceptional. In the ’14 Kentucky tape when the OT down blocked, Ray filled the hole but kept shoulders square, saw it was a read/option play to the RB, made the tackle on 4th & 2 in the 4th quarter. He tends to lose focus when his initial move doesn’t work, often standing straight up, resulting in getting washed out in the run game. Usually once a game Ray will lose his balance (control of his feet around the edge) due to his reckless abandon playing style. He needs to be taught how to properly harness his effort to avoid being too reckless.
Section Grade: 7.2
Strength / Explosion
Ray has a sculpted body with a larger upper than lower half. Has good height and looks like a legit 6-3. He doesn’t have especially long arms and doesn’t display a lot of functional strength or the ability to convert speed to power vs bigger OL. He has been durable considering only having been a starter for one season (didn’t miss a game in ’14). He suffers from what appear to be “stingers” in almost every tape I saw and they require him to come out for a couple plays at a time. Ray possesses incredible explosion and burst out of his stance through excellent snap timing and a high level of fast twitch muscle fiber. He is the definition of twitched up. He also is a very physical tackler and can generate good power on contact.
Section Grade: 6.9
7 Read & React
Keeps eyes on the ball even when engaged and is incredibly active, reacts very smoothly and aggressively to the ball
8.5 Initial Quicks
Elite level initial quickness all over the field. He is incredibly sudden in his movements and makes pinpoint cuts with ease
6 Play Strength
Lacks the ability to push back bigger OL, doesn’t have a ton of strength in his lower half to hold his position at POA but demonstrates good strength in bringing ballcarriers down
6.5 Use of Hands
Incredibly fast, active hands. Has a very effective rip move but not much else when rushing the passer. Doesn’t possess much pop or punch.
6.5 Shed Blockers
Very efficient, fast and effective hands that he uses to keep OLs’ hands off his body on initial contact. Tends to stand straight up in the run game when head up with OL, making it very hard on himself to get off blocks if he doesn’t win the initial fight. Avoids cut blocks very well due to being hyper active and aware.
5.5 Run at Him
Has the ability to get off blocks quickly but needs more sand to hold his ground vs OL
8 Pursuit / Range
Has range to cover the whole field. Hones in on ballcarriers and gets to his spots exceptionally fast. Takes good angles to the ball, especially from the backside
Solid form tackler who uses his aggressive/fast hands to fight ballcarriers to the ground
8.5 Closing Burst
Closes the gap between himself and the ball extraordinarily fast. Has exceptional coordination that enables him to sync his athleticism with his body beautifully, resulting in a ton of explosive movement
5 Power Rush
Doesn’t generate good speed to power on initial contact. Lacks enough strength to generate a consistent bull rush. Needs to work on his leverage and also gain weight/strength. Should improve here with time
8 Speed Rush
Ray is lethal in this area with his explosive get off, speed to run the loop, and elite lateral quickness to get around OL
Ray is a sound player who rarely makes mistakes. His issues stem from physical limitations and needing to learn to play under control
Section Grade: 6.9
8.5 INITIAL QKS
8.5 PLAY SPEED
6 PLAY STR
Section Grade: 7.5
Overall Grade: C 7.2
Ray is exceptionally gifted physically. Has elite burst, speed, lateral quicks, coordination, and motor. Very sudden in his movements which makes him very difficult for bigger OL to block him, even touch him at times. He is able to keep his lower half & upper half in sync so well which allows him to blow by blockers and have outstanding COD. Has extremely quick/active feet and fast hands that enable him to set up blockers, keep his feet moving on contact, outrun angles, and keep the hands of OL off his body. Ray is a true snap to whistle player who is very aggressive and active in everything he does on the field. Equally effective off the edge as he is at the DT spot in nickel and dime fronts.
Struggles to convert speed to power resulting in minimal push back of OL and an inconsistent bull rush. Gives up ground too easily at the POA due to a combination of lack of strength and playing too high. Needs to keep himself under control when rushing the passer, at times his feet get tangled because he sometimes has only one speed = full speed. Doesn’t have an array of pass rush moves, relies solely on his rip.
Ray is an RS Jr, a three year contributor and just a one year starter due to the high level of talent at Missouri. Ray had to wait his turn behind the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam. Ray made the most of his opportunity in ’14 and not only won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year but was a consensus first-team All-American and broke the single season school-record for sacks and tackles for loss. Ray finished his career with 120 total tackles, 82 solo, 34 TFL, 17.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery (73-yard TD) and a blocked kick. He finished his record-breaking ’14 season with 65 TT, 47 solo, 22.5 TFL, 13 sacks, 3 FF, 1 blocked kick.
Ray is a well-built, muscular, balanced human with a slightly more developed upper half than lower. He has the frame to be able to add the necessary weight to be an every down player in the future (10-12 pounds). He has tremendous control over his body paired with elite athleticism, allowing him to start/stop on a dime and change directions with relative ease. He is smooth and crisp in his movements, specifically up field and laterally. Against the pass he sets up OL outside and comes back inside with a devastating rip move thats nearly unstoppable due to his insane burst/suddenness. Incredibly active/quick foot fire that really factor in when he’s kicked inside as a three technique on passing downs. Doesn’t possess many moves aside from the rip and needs work on his bull rush which is very ineffective. He doesn’t hold up well at the POA due to lack of sand, standing straight up, or by not keeping his shoulders square. His hands are very fast but not nearly as powerful. Needs to continue to work hard in the weight room, gain weight/strength, particularly in his lower half, and play with better leverage vs the run. His excellent speed enable him to track down ballcarriers and outrun angles. What makes him so dynamic is his tremendous motor. He plays with his hair on fire and is extremely aggressive in all his actions on the field (out of his stance, on contact, running down people) and isn’t afraid to risk his body. His high level of intensity can work against him at times as he will get such a full head of steam he loses his balance and his feet get tangled, specifically when running the loop. He needs to learn how to stay under control more consistently. He pursues backside consistently and very well with his speed/effort combo. Snaps his hips on contact and has the ability to deliver the big hit. In coverage he can snap his hips, turn, and explode seamlessly but lacks much experience in this aspect from the tapes I’ve seen. He will be one of the more explosive and active pass rushers as soon as he steps on the field in the NFL. Ray needs time in the weight room to develop sand and overall functional strength plus develop a couple counter moves before he is an every down player. Initially, Ray will be able to generate pressure/penetration from multiple spots (off the edge and as a three technique in nickel/dime situations) and with time should develop into a perennial pro bowler and difference maker.
Pro Comp – Shawne Merriman