Rashan Gary is a physical freak that is likely to be selected early in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Rashan Gary is one of the toughest evaluations of the EDGE class in the 2019 NFL Draft. His physical profile is ridiculous. He flashes outstanding traits on tape. Strangely, he never dominated at the collegiate level, and his traits weren’t consistent across his tape. This makes him a big question mark when it comes to your dynasty IDP fantasy football drafts.
Athletically, there is no question about Rashan Gary. He tested as elite across every test at the combine aside from his three cone, which was still above average. There are no holes in his athletic profile. This is apparent in his tape. Even if he doesn’t always utilize his elite speed and strength to his advantage, it is very clear that he has them.
His technique is the hard part to evaluate.
The first obstacle to evaluating Rashan Gary is that he played multiple positions on Michigan’s defensive front. While he plays alright from the inside, he is most effective on the outside, where he can truly unleash his athleticism in space. So many of his reps are not particularly useful in his evaluation, because he is not playing a position that he is likely to be asked to play in the NFL.
The second obstacle to evaluating Rashan Gary is his responsibility on the Michigan defense. Rashan Gary was used as a run-defense-first type of player at Michigan. Rushing the passer was a secondary responsibility. That makes his pass rush reps less representative of his potential as a pass rusher because he is not allowed to just straight up get to the quarterback.
This explains Rashan Gary’s lack of pass rush productivity against collegiate competition.
After putting those obstacles aside, it appears that the sky is the limit for Rashan Gary. He is going to need some coaching with some of his pass rushing technique. It will benefit him to diversify his pass rush moves. He is going to need to adapt his play style to his new role in the NFL and better make use of his athleticism. These things are all coachable. It’s a tall order, but those are all things that he can be taught at the NFL level.
Rashan Gary’s first step isn’t as explosive as you would think, given his impressive combine scores. He can sometimes get too high with his first step and get too upright, and his reaction is inconsistent at times. This is something that is fixable, but it is something that he absolutely needs to fix. In order to really harness his athletic potential, he has got to become more consistent with his first step so that he can win with his explosiveness rather than just recover with it.
Rashan Gary can bend the corner, but he often decides not to and tries to win with his power instead. His strength is impressive, and he does a good job of converting speed to power, but he needs to bend the corner more consistently. His role as a run defender may play into the fact that he chose to engage defenders rather than beat them with regularity. It’s an aspect of his game that I somewhat overlook for that reason.
When he does rush the passer, he needs to become more versatile in his pass rush arsenal. He doesn’t have a consistent inside counter and, despite strong hand fighting ability, doesn’t use his arms as much as he should in his arc.
Right now, Gary looks like a very raw prospect as a pass rusher, but his ceiling is incredible. The strongest aspect of his game immediately is his run defense. His effort in pursuit isn’t always fantastic, but he has the speed to run down running backs and can stretch a play out to the sideline.
He holds the point of attack well, can take on blockers and drive them backward. Gary is excellent at disengaging and can throw aside blockers at the point of attack very well. As a tackler, Rashan Gary plays mean. He is strong, physical, wraps up and drives through the ball carrier.
Overall, Rashan Gary is a raw, but very enticing prospect that offers strong contributions in both run defense and pass rush.
IDP Fantasy Implications:
Rashan Gary might be a top ten pick in the NFL Draft. If that happens, he is probably going to be a top pick in your dynasty IDP rookie drafts as well. He isn’t there yet as a pass rusher, but he could be, and that is very exciting for prospective owners.
Rashan Gary may have the highest ceiling of any of the EDGE prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Can he put it all together? I don’t know, but it is probably worth the risk.
Right now, Rashan Gary is going to set a nice floor for himself with tackles in run defense. Whether the pass rushing productivity comes in time is uncertain. If he gets more consistent in his effort in pursuit, Rashan Gary could put up tackle numbers that make his pass rushing productivity less of a concern, but it is tough to say whether that is a real possibility.