With the 2015 NFL Combine underway this week, it’s time to turn our attention towards the draft. We’ll highlight players to watch, and how they can help themselves at the combine. Up first, pass rusher Randy Gregory.
Gregory is widely thought of as the top edge rusher in this draft class and has been heavily linked with the Redskins in mock drafts. He’s one of a number of edge players who will run drills as a 4-3 defensive end and as a 3-4 outside linebacker. To me, he’s best suited to standing up in the 3-4.
But the big question he’ll face at the combine is his weight. He told USA Today that he is currently 242 pounds, but is looking to bulk up his 6-foot-6 frame.
“Right now, I’m about 242 pounds. But I’ve been at Nebraska at over 255 pounds before and looked great, still move the same way I do now. I think I can weigh anything between 255 and 270 depending what scheme I’m in in the NFL.”
When I watch Gregory, one of the knocks I have on him is his strength. It’s not poor, but it could be better. Adding weight would certainly help him in that aspect of his game. I’d like to see him get up to about 260 pounds, the weight Ryan Kerrigan is listed at, and see how he performs in the on-field drills. He needs to prove he can carry the extra weight without it having a significant impact on his pass-rushing ability.
His bench press results will also be interesting to see. He has long arms, which tends to be a hindrance to performing well with the bench press. But if he can post a solid number there, that could help calm any concerns about his strength.
His burst has also been in question. Often times he looked late off the snap. This appears to have been attributed to coaching, but we still need to see how well Gregory can get off the line. His 10-yard split on his 40-yard dash time will be important, almost more than the full 40 time. If he can show he has the burst, it will negate worries about that slow get off.
While he’ll be used primarily as a pass rusher in the NFL, the coverage drills will be important. If he looks stiff while dropping back, it might put off 3-4 teams like the Redskins. This is where Gregory will have to find the right balance at the combine. He needs to show he can carry extra weight well, but won’t want to take away from that 40 time. I expect he’ll weigh in at around about 245 pounds and give himself the best chance to run well and partake in the coverage drills with the linebackers.