Michigan Wolverines junior Rashan Gary has the tools to be a dominant force in the modern NFL and a top-five draft pick in 2019.
The depth along the defensive line in the 2019 NFL Draft is unlike anything we’ve seen in quite some time. A vast number of prospects at the position are receiving first-round hype, and it’s conceivable that three interior linemen could come off the board in the top 10.
Houston Cougars star Ed Oliver is generating understandable hype, but the list of players beyond him is nothing short of intriguing.
One of the players who will soon become a household name, if he isn’t already, is Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Rashan Gary. Gary is coming off of an explosive sophomore season that set the stage for a junior year that could justify the near consensus projections.
Questions exist about how well Gary will play without the presence of 2018 draftee Maurice Hurst, but that only makes him a more appealing prospect to watch.
If Gary comes out and dominates in the way he did last season, he’ll legitimize the hype. If he produces an even better season than a year ago, the skeptics will be silenced and he could find himself in the conversation for a top-five pick.
That may sound like a bold claim with the blind favoring of quarterbacks, but Hurst fits the modern mold for dominance.
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN currently has Gary listed as the No. 3 prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s far too early to believe that pre-draft rankings are even close to conclusive, but it’s a testament to the promise and potential that undoubtedly exists.
Standing at 6’5″ and 281 pounds with the versatility to play along both the interior and edge of a defensive line, Gary is a force.
Gary needs to be more decisive off the line, but he managed to play just about everywhere in 2017. He operated on both the Weak and Strong Side, shifted inside when need be, and flashed elite closing speed when pursuing the quarterback.
That combination of size, bulk, and athleticism doesn’t come along very often, which is certainly a solid foundation for a player’s draft stock.
The question will be whether or not Gary can continue to develop as a player in 2018.
In 2017, Gary produced 58 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks in 13 games played. He was named First Team All-Big Ten, and secured his place in the preseason hearts of draft analysts around the country.
More importantly: He proved that the pure talent is in place to captivate scouts, coaches, and general managers throughout the NFL.
There are still questions to answer and critics to disprove, but Rashan Gary has the tools to be one of the first five players off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.