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|
|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)|
Let’s take a look at some of his plays from his 2014 campaign to see how he projects in the NFL:
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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