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Should the Giants try to develop Michigan DL Rashan Gary’s traits?

Michigan DL Rashan Gary has elite traits, but can they translate into production?

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Michigan vs South Carolina Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is an interesting beast. Thirty-two teams spend months, if not years, gathering data points on prospects, trying to build draft boards which will lead them as they invest their limited resources in college prospects who will be the future of their franchises.

But while every team has similar resources and the same goals, they can each go about the process in wildly different ways. Every team runs slightly different schemes, and has different philosophies regarding what they value in a prospect.

Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary will be a litmus test for what teams value and how they go about their pre-draft processes. Gary is a certified athletic freak playing a valuable position, but his production doesn’t fit his athletic profile. How will the Giants view him? Will Dave Gettleman be enamored with his size and athletic profile, and how would he reconcile Gary’s pedestrian production?



  • Elite height/weight/speed combination.
  • Flashes a strong motor. Can be relentless in pursuit.
  • Explosive first step.
  • Can stand linemen up in the run game.
  • Capable of delivering a solid jolt with his hands.


  • Stiff in the lower body.
  • Can’t flatten and bend around the edge.
  • Struggles to get off blockers with technique or power.
  • Can be fooled by offensive misdirection.
  • Missed a month due to a shoulder injury.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Gary has been one of the more polarizing figures in the draft class, but even those who are “low” on him tend to have him in the second round. That’s where I’ll be on him, acknowledging the upside of his traits and flashes but realizing a lot of development needs to take place for Gary to be an elite player that is deserving of a top ten selection.

I think his best spot could ultimately be to bulk up and play inside, but at 277 with his athletic testing numbers, the NFL is going to give him a shot on the edge first, thus why I graded him as an edge. Gary’s ability to kick inside situationally is valuable, but he didn’t really produce as a pass rusher in that role at Michigan. Of course, he didn’t really produce at edge either I guess. Maybe his NFL landing spot gets him all the way there, but his lack of production and development in college gives me some pause as a top pick. Still, Gary’s traits are obvious and if he develops his hands he’ll be a good, solid player at the very least.

- Jon Ledyard (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

On the surface, Gary looks like a great fit for what the Giants seem to want to do on defense. He has elite height/weight/speed traits, experience off the edge while also being able to move inside on nickel downs.

However, taking a closer look at his tape, especially in the context of his production numbers, raises some red flags.

Teams will have to ask why an EDGE with Gary’s measurables was only able to generate 6.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks in nine games. While technique is vital at the NFL level, at the collegiate level, prospects are still able to “Out Athlete” players on opposing teams, and Gary should have been able to do that with regularity.

On tape, he has a fantastic first step, but shows some lower-body stiffness which keeps him from being able to effectively flatten and bend around the edge -- which makes it too easy for tackles to simply run him around the pocket. Likewise, while he has a heavy punch, he doesn’t do much with his hands to keep blockers from locking in on his chest plate. That is useful in run defense, but slows down his pass rush. And finally, Gary’s awareness and mental processing seem to be issues, and too often he finds himself biting on offensive “eye candy” and being lead out of position.

His technique and awareness might be coachable, but his issues with stiffness aren’t.

Because of that, his best position is likely as a 5-technique on a one-gap 3-4 defense who can slide inside on nickel downs. In those situations, he can attack gaps with his burst and power, but won’t be asked to bend the edge often.

Gary’s measurables and athletic upside will likely have him drafted highly, but whatever team takes him will likely need a plan to maximize his talents and help him reach his full potential.