*Our DL grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.


Randy Gregory is a really good football player, and a terrific athlete, but he has one NFL Draft problem: His 235-pound weigh in at the NFL Combine. *Late note…he now has two problems: His weight issues and several failed drug tests at Nebraska, as well as a failed test at the NFL Combine. We’ll get into that in a bit.

A nearly 6’5” human who runs a 4.6+ 40-time with sub-7.0 three-cone times is a rare, wonderful bird, but also comes with difficulty trying to project him at the next level. There were reports that Gregory played under 220-pounds this past season with Nebraska. He can get away with that in college, but he cannot play DE or OLB in the NFL effectively below 220-pounds. Blockers will eat him up—he’ll have no force/mass to move a blocker. He’ll have speed to dart by them on occasion, but he is a real risk at getting thrown off most plays by the bigger blockers. You can use a skinnier, athletic Gregory on your football team…just not as a top-10 pick/hoping he is a future ‘franchise’ defensive player.

A top-10 NFL Draft pick bet on Gregory means you see him bulking up to 245-pounds to be a more NFL-sized DE/OLB. If that happens, how much speed/agility does Gregory lose? Just a small dip in speed/agility takes him well below the speed-agility of Vic Beasley (who is already at 245-pounds) and starts to put Gregory into an argument with Virginia DE/OLB prospect Eli Harold’s 4.6 speed with nice agility at 245-pounds. If you lump him with Harold as a prospect…then you’re talking about a guy who should be picked around #20-30+ overall…not the top-5 and top-10 option many see Gregory at now.

We just don’t know what adding 10-15 pounds and playing at that weight is going to with Gregory. If he adds it gracefully (no loss of speed/agility)…he’s a top-10 pick. If it bogs him down a little…he’s more a ‘good’/interesting NFL prospect, not a great/superior one.

If Gregory adds 15-pounds and slows down a little…he’s going to be very similar to where Miss State DE prospect Preston Smith is—identical heights, same weight (if Gregory bumps up), same speed (if Gregory slows a little), BUT Smith will weigh 20+ pounds more than Gregory (if he bulks up to 250 pounds). That’s the problem with getting super-excited about Gregory’s speed and college performance…it may have all been done at a weight that gets by in college but is mild trouble in the pros. Bulk Gregory up, and slow him down a little, and there are many other 2015 draft prospects who will register with the same athleticism.

On-field, I really enjoyed watching Gregory on tape. He plays with high effort. I expected to see a guy taking plays off when I noticed his so-so sack and TFL totals (for a supposed elite NFL prospect). I didn’t see that on tape. What I did see is Gregory with a huge amount of ‘near miss’ sacks and TFLs. He used his speed/athleticism to get into backfields to cause havoc but didn’t finish plays as well. Gregory averaged over 1.0+ QB Hurries per game in his two seasons at Nebraska. You could celebrate that ‘non-performance stat’ or you could worry that his size/frame may not be bulky enough to take down players effectively.

Gregory plays hard on every down, plus showed skills to drop back in coverage, and has the instinct to shed a good block in order to lasso ballcarriers headed to his side of the field. He is absolutely an NFL player, but the question is “How good is he?” Is he just a solid starter or situational guy, or a future franchise OLB/DE?


Randy Gregory, Through the Lens of Our DE Scouting Algorithm:

What gives you hope for Gregory in the future is his 2013 numbers at Nebraska—his first year with the Cornhuskers. In 2013, Gregory posted 4.6 tackles per game with four individual games grabbing eight tackles in each game…and 5.3 tackles per game over his final nine games (as he got integrated as a starter/star). He also averaged 2.9 solo tackles per game in 2013.

I bring this up because Gregory’s overall numbers dipped a little in 2014. He only made 2.1 solo tackles per game (2.9 per game prior). He went from 1.3 TFLs per game in 2013 to 0.85 per game in 2014. I would advance that Gregory saw much more double teams and purposeful plans to neutralize him in 2014. Against Rutgers in 2014, the Scarlet Knights seemed like they were triple teaming Gregory at times…as their fullback got involved mirroring and walling off Gregory. Wherever Gregory went, Rutgers had guys assigned to him…he still had 5 tackles and a sack in the game. We saw it in other games as well in 2014.

The 2013 version of Gregory shows a player who mixes it up, a guy who pursues plays all over the field. He was his same ole’ self in 2014, but there was a lot more attention given to stopping him.

Athletically, Gregory tested in the upper group among DEs at the NFL Combine for 40-time, 10-split, and agility. His NFL Combine numbers are pushing him as a top 10 prospect for the draft. I think you have to really factor in what happens when he adds the weight, and whether that takes him down to more ‘good’ than ‘great’…and if ‘good’, there are other similar OLB/DE options to consider—ones who come at a cheaper draft price.

If there wasn’t enough to think about with Gregory’s weight, now we have the issue of his drug test failures. It’s a 1-2 punch of bad information: (1) How dumb do you have to be to be involved with weed around the time of the NFL Combine? (2) Multiple failed tests at Nebraska and was on his last strike before he would be kicked off the team. All of this adding up to the fact there is a serious problem here…not just a one-time/casual user. Gregory has reportedly come out and admitted he’s had a habit issue for years.

If Gregory is not an off-the-charts prospect, but also comes with major drug problems (potentially), then how highly are you willing to gamble that he will train his body to add the necessary weight and avoid another strike, which would get him suspended in the NFL? I don’t see how you can draft him top-15 now.

The Historical DE Prospects to Whom Randy Gregory Most Compares Within Our System:

We think Gregory is a little better version of Barkevious Mingo but has similar issues—all the athleticism on paper, but fears of a smaller frame and off-field questions. Guys like Mingo, or a Dion Jordan has to scare NFL teams. All guys who were sensational athletes and plucked quickly in the NFL Draft…and are two years into the league and their teams still don’t know what to do with them. The speed that made them awesome as pass rushers in college isn’t as special in the NFL playing at a thinner-framed size. They are all guys who belong in the NFL but were radically over drafted in hindsight.

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Tackle, Strngth Metric

Speed, Agility Metric

Pass Rush Metric

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*A score of 8.00+ is where we see a stronger correlation of DEs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL DE.

All of the DE ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Power-Strength Metrics = A combination of several measurements. An attempt to classify the DE prospect as more of a battle-in-the-trenches type of DE, a 'bull-rusher', and/or a DE prospect who has some DT capabilities.

Speed-Agility Metrics = A combination of several speed, agility, size measurements. A unique measuring system to look for DEs who profile more as speed-rush, stand-up DEs, and/or possible OLBs.

Pass-Rusher Rating = A combination of physical measurables, and college performance, graded historically for future NFL profiling. In the simplest of terms, this is an attempt to classify whether a particular DE is likely to achieve high sack totals in the NFL. We know the 'system'/scheme the DE goes on to play in has a part in future success...but so do the player's skills and performance history. "You can't keep a good man/DE down," we'd like to think.

Tackling Rating = A combination of physical measurables, and college performance, graded historically for future NFL profiling. In the simplest of terms, this is an attempt to classify the DE as one more likely to be involved in a heavy amount of tackles, tackles for a loss, and forced fumbles. Lower-scoring DEs in this subcategory tend to be more pure pass-rushers/specialists. This is also our attempt to quantify, if it's possible, the 'toughness' of a player.

2015 NFL Draft Outlook:

Gregory’s draft projections are starting to bounce all over. For some, he’s a top-5 developmental pick. For others, he’s falling as a #15+ as the fear of getting another Dion Jordan hits. I thought he’d likely go top-10 because he has enough draft positives and has solid tape, but now the drug issue really hurts. It has to take him out of the top-10 and more into the #15-25 range.

If I were an NFL GM, and I had a top-15 pick, and had a need for an OLB/DE, then I am not taking Gregory. There are too many other interesting guys at OLB/DE to consider within the next 20-30 picks. I can trade down and get a similar/better option; potentially. I’m not against Gregory as a prospect, I just don’t like his valuation…so “I’m out.” Add in the habitual drug stuff, and I’m really ‘out’.

NFL Outlook:   

I worry that he is drafted highly, and then has a Dion Jordan-like flop his rookie season—huge expectations, but really needs 2-3 years to develop…and people start calling him a ‘bust’ quickly. I don’t see how he’ll step in day-one and be a star. Eventually, I think he can be a really solid NFL player. There is enough red-flags here to make you nervous.