Sep 27, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Shane Ray (56) gives chase to South Carolina Gamecocks running back Mike Davis (28) during the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Missouri wins in the final minutes 21-20 over South Carolina. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Ray #56, DE – Missouri
Trying to replace former Missouri stand-outs Kony Ealy and Michael Sam is a tall task, but Shane Ray stepped in and continued the trend of nfl-caliber defensive end production for the Tigers this season. The 6-3, 245 lb. redshirt junior was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year for 2014 and earned that title by leading the SEC in sacks, ranking third overall in the FBS. Ray was also a finalist for the Hendricks Award, given each year to the nation’s best defensive end, and a semifinalist for both the Lombardi and Bednarik awards.
Ray uses excellent snap anticipation and explodes off the ball to gain leverage advantage against opposing lineman. He combines quick hands and a variety of pass rush moves to consistently win his one-on-one matchup and make plays in the backfield. Though he is surprisingly powerful for his size, Ray’s lack of prototypical bulk does cause him to struggle holding his ground at the POA in the run game. However, his excellence in pursuit provides him with the range to make plays in the run game other defensive tackles cannot, as evidenced by his 65 tackles on the year. Ray’s best fit will be as an OLB in a 3-4, though his pass-rushing skills could land him as a RDE in a 43 front. I expect him to be a late first/early second day prosepct.
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