Redskins draft prospects: Shane Ray

Taking a weekly look at various players who could tempt the Washington Redskins with the fifth overall pick in the draft, watching at least three or four of their games. As the draft gets closer, I’ll post these reports more frequently and take a look at other rounds as well.

Player: Shane Ray

Position: DE/OLB

School: Missouri

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 245 pounds

Projected round: Early first.

What I liked: His speed and athleticism, which is what anyone who watches him will like. I loved his burst off the line; at times I’d stop the film and he’d be across the line of scrimmage just after the snap while the other linemen were just taking their first step. His anticipation is good, but in some instances it was just a matter of seeing the ball snapped and then reacting. He has terrific speed around the edge and bends well while taking a good angle. I also liked that on a few occasions he had tackles worried enough about his outside speed that, even with help to the outside, they still set up wide. And Ray would cut inside with a quick move. He looked like he went hard all the time and did not give up on plays. I saw him chase down a running back on a screen in which he came from several yards away. In the four games I watched, I saw two of his sacks that resulted in fumbles. He appeared to be disciplined. He changes directions well; on one rush against Florida, he had to do so three times yet never lost ground and forced the quarterback to throw on the run. I liked how he came up against the run. He does play with some power and never really saw him driven hard off the line.

What I didn’t like: Though he was in position to play the run well at times, he also too often was not square to the line when he took on blocks, so it was tough to disengage. I thought he lost sight of the ball carrier at times, too. Or he’d occasionally get blocked because he’d get upright looking for the ball. He did not have a wide variety of moves; mostly what he showed was terrific speed and athleticism. He’ll need to improve on stunts, etc., but that’s not a big issue. Saw him try to use a spin move once, but he started it too soon and the Florida left tackle easily stopped him.

Why they could use him: There’s a chance Brian Orakpo won’t return, which severely limits pass-rush options after outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. The Redskins have little to no depth at outside linebacker.

How he fits: Ray would provide speed off the edge, something nobody else can do right now. It would also enable the Redskins to use more sub packages with three outside linebackers, which was spoiled last year when Orakpo was injured. It’s a new defensive staff, but the desire for a better pass rush hasn’t waned. Ray mostly played with his hand on the ground, though he did drop into coverage on occasion and appeared to do so fluidly. At 6-foot-3, he’s just a shade under the ideal length for an outside rusher in a 3-4. However, San Diego drafted Jeremiah Attaochu last year (when Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry was the Chargers’ linebackers coach).

Previous draft prospects.