by Adam Nardelli | NY Giants Rush Contributor
Do the Giants need SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Shane Ray
As important as the offensive line is, the defensive line’s ability in generating a pass rush and disrupting the opposing quarterback has shown to be in Big Blue’s formula for success in the past. Defensive End Shane Ray from the University of Missouri is another name many close to the Giants look at as a strong possibility.
Just about any football fan could realize that without the Giants ability to pressure Tom Brady in both Super Bowl 42 and 46 the outcome of those games very well could have been different.
As a result, a focus on pass rush prospects needs to be one of the Giants higher priorities when determining what positions they would like to address in the draft. The Combine is the first opportunity to determine which pass rushers, if any, are players the Giants scouts and coaches believe can come in and help the team get back to consistently sacking the quarterback, which could also have an impact on the future of Jason Pierre-Paul in New York.
Although Brandon Scherff’s name has been strongly attached to the Giants in several different mock drafts from ESPN to nfl.com’s Bucky Brooks, Defensive End Shane Ray from the University of Missouri is another name many close to the Giants look at as a strong possibility.
Per a report from Fox Sports, Ray’s 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage have sparked an enormous buzz for Ray among scouts as a player who can be a true elite pass rusher. Take a look at the video linked here of the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and without any doubt I can say his explosiveness will jump out of your screen.
According to draftbreakdown.com, Ray plays with strong ferocious hands when trying to plow through blocks, allowing him to avoid blockers’ attempts to drive him down and away from the quarterback or the ball carrier. The combination of his vicious hands when making contact with blockers along with his explosiveness coming off of the line makes it hard to defend him.
The upside to Brandon Scherff is he can come in and play Guard for the Giants, at least for now, and impose a strong impact. While Ray is intriguing his overall size at the NFL level is concerning for a defensive end. He is very explosive, but he only weighs 245 pounds, a weight that most successful pass rushers surpass by a fair amount.
Watching video on Ray it was easy to see that size did not affect his play; however, he went up against tackles and guards in the SEC, not the NFL.
Furthermore, in Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense, it is yet to be seen what type of impact a smaller defensive end/edge rusher, like Ray, can come in and have. A 245 pound defensive end, although it’s just a number, doesn’t exactly coincide with the sizes of some of the other great rushers in today’s NFL, from Justin Houston to JJ Watt to Terrell Suggs who all measure in at over 250 pounds. Again it’s just a number, but weight comes into play when having to fight through a 310 pound offensive lineman.
While Ray is an intriguing prospect at defensive end, it could be possible that he could be converted to a linebacker.