Randy Gregory was a four-star junior college prospect from Arizona Western College. Even though Gregory missed the entire 2012 season due to a broken leg, his dominant freshman campaign in 2011 in which he collected 82 tackles and 9 sacks was enough for college scouts to recognize his potential in Division 1 NCAA football. Gregory committed to attend Purdue, but ended up changing to the University of Nebraska to play for the Huskers. Gregory decided to forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft projected as a high first round draft choice in April.
College Career Overview
After Gregory transferred to Nebraska his impact was felt immediately earning him Nebraska’s Defensive MVP in 2013. His dominant 2013 campaign forced opposing teams to start game-planning around him by double-teaming him at the point of attack. Even though Gregory’s numbers suffered, his impact did not as he still managed to collect 7.0 sacks using his athletic ability off of the edge to pursue the quarterback. He was named to the Big Ten’s First-Team for the second straight season.
|DOB||November 23, 1992||Bench (225 lb)||24 reps|
|Weight||235 lbs||Broad Jump||10’5″|
|Arms||34″||20 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
|Hands||10″||3 Cone Drill||N/A|
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)||4.64 sec (1.60 sec)||60 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
Stats and Awards
|University of Nebraska (2013-2014)||Third-Team All-American (2014)|
|Arizona Western College (2011-2012)||First Team All-Big Ten (2013, 2014)|
|2014 – 54 tackles (8.5 for loss), 7.0 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF||National Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year (2013)|
|2013 – 65 tackles (16.0 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF||Nebraska’s Defensive MVP (2013)|
- Tall and lean frame makes him a long-stride runner. Very fluid athlete who’s good in open space and closing in on the ball-carrier, but struggles turning in tight corridors due to tight hips.
- Played mainly as a 4-3DE in the 3-point stance at Nebraska, but also played well standing in the 2-point stance as a rush linebacker.
- Superior athlete that has the “wow” factor in terms of strength, size, and length.
- Inconsitent snap recognition. Too often he is the last person off of the line of scrimmage.
- Plays too tall/upright and loses leverage or susceptible to cut blocks.
- Too light to play 4-3DE and should be a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. Still needs to add 20 lbs to help with his power in setting the edge and shedding blocks.
- Should only play as a situational pass rusher to start his career.
- Excellent pursuit in run support, but sometimes in backside contain doesn’t even pursue. Admittedly it might be a defensive call though not to pursue and just keep the edge for cutbacks.
- Huge liability in run support. Gets blown up by runs straight at him and struggles to shed blocks.
- Chippy. Always seems to be in someone’s face, and might take it too far if he feels like he was wronged.
- Good repertoire of pss-rush moves, especially like his swim and bull-jerk moves. Bull-rush was effective at times, but other times he didn’t get leverage due to high pad level.
- Very inconsistent overall that makes flash plays at times, but gets dominated at other times.
- Rarely was asked to play in coverage. Will need to develop that skill in the the NFL.
- Lots of experience with double-teams. Should help in the next level.
- Injury-prone. Broke his leg and was out all of 2012. Dealt with scar tissue flare up and a miscellaneous ankle injury in the 2014 season.
Let’s take a look at some of his plays from his 2014 campaign to see how he projects in the NFL:
1. Pass Rushing
Gregory is extremely athletic and moves well in space. He’s a long stride runner who can quickly make up ground in space. He has a good base fundamental base of moves so far, and even showcases great strength in his bullrush and bulljerk moves, while using his finesse in his swim moves. The strength of his moves is surprising as he is underweight for his position standing only at 235 lbs.
In the first play, Gregory bullrushes a future 1st round offensive lineman Ereck Flowers who gets backed up all the way past the quarterback, where Gregory is able to disrupt the pass making the quarterback throw way off target. There is a chance that the left tackle’s feet got entangled with his left guard, but Gregory makes the most of it regardless and it would have been a sack if it weren’t for the QB’s quick decision-making.
In these next two plays, Gregory shows his bulljerk move demonstrating excellent hand positioning on the offensive tackle to remove them from his path. Bulljerks are setup with an initial bulljerk contact to put the blocker in an off-balanced state where they lunge forward with shoulders and arms to try to make up space after the shove. Gregory initiates off of quick initial burst and then uses them to propel himself towards his target. In the second play, Gregory takes a clean, legal shot at the quarterback sending him to the ground in a hurry also displaying his open-field speed.
In these three plays, Gregory uses his swim move to get around the offensive tackle and penetrate into the backfield. One of Gregory’s greatest strengths is the ability to make moves in the open-field to use his natural athleticism to evade the block.
One thing I noticed while watching his plays is that he tends to play with a pad level too high, which makes him susceptible to cut blocks. The right tackle clearly takes him out here, but Gregory springs back up off the ground quickly to try to get in the throwing lane of the quarterback.
Another thing that concerns me is that Gregory too often struggles to get off of his blocks. This is especially true in run defense against downfield running teams. In this play, Gregory from the right DE spot attempts a club/inside rip move inside to chase the quarterback but can’t get off the tackle to make the play.
Gregory’s pass rush is clearly the best part of his game and was a constant worry for defensive coordinators in the Big 10 these past two seasons. He needs to keep working at better timing his snap recognition, and using his hands and physical strength to shed blocks as opposed to relying on his speed and agility alone.
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