Name: Shane Ray
College: University of Missouri
Height / Weight: 6’3” / 245 lbs.
S.U. Rank: 2
Potential NFL Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions
Aside from Leonard Williams, Shane Ray from Missouri is the second best defensive end available for NFL teams to pick up this time around. Coming from the same stomping grounds as former college standout Michael Sam, Ray looks to continue Missouri’s dominance when it comes to producing star defensive players ready for a professional career.
Here are three reasons that Shane Ray will have success come his way in the NFL:
1. Shane City
San Francisco is in desperate need of anything good — even if it’s just a glimpse. A change at head coach, the retirement of key defensive players, and a lack of a non-bandwagon fan base has left the city by the bay searching for answers.
Shane Ray is definitely one of them.
Not only will Ray be able to immediately contribute to wins for the 49ers in must-grab games against weak opponents, but the NFC West match ups against the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams (all nearly impossible at the moment for San Francisco to win) will, at the very least, be close.
If that’s good enough for the fans, I should say.
Mind-blowing doesn’t even do their off-season justice. Picking Shane Ray gives the 49ers a decent amount of team management and credibility back as well as restores the glory days of what used to be an “ask questions later” defense and a well-respected franchise, even by the most bitter of rivals.
If San Francisco chooses to not go with one.
All in all, San Francisco’s immediate success is up for grabs. Literally. No pressure, though.
2. A Whole New Zone
At the college level, Shane Ray played in 4-3 coverage as the end and because of that his familiarity with the playbook will be an easy transition for the soon-to-be-superstar. Ray has the ability to compete for a starting job right off the bat — you can’t say that about other defensive prospects in recent memory unless you looked at players like Richard Sherman, J.J. Watt, or Jadeveon Clowney.
Hey, would you look at that? I guess it’s true that big names always go with big games.
The Cincinnati Bengals have only had good offensive players recently, and it’s time they change that up and focus more on the defensive front — especially if they expect to do well in an always difficult AFC North, a division that hosts a flurry of Super Bowl potential.
Let your actions do the talking. It’s that simple.
3. Dark Horse Attitude
Shane Ray is used to having to be the underdog. Whether as part of a Missouri team stuck in the sensational SEC or being put second to a USC freak athlete, Ray is more than ready to have another bout with those who dare say he’s not ready for the next level.
Because trust me, they’ve got another thing coming.
This mindset would play well on a team like the Detroit Lions. Since losing Ndamukong Suh to the Miami Dolphins, the Lions need to be sure to take care of their defense that, for the better part of last season, kept them one game away from being better — division standing and playoff seed wise — from the Green Bay Packers.
Imagine that same team now having a player fresh out of the gates. Almost like Seabiscuit, but a billion times more influential and effective in today’s here-and-now culture. If the Lions were good enough to be a serious contender without a guy like him running the offense — because, let’s admit it, Suh often acted childish and wasn’t much of a leader — just imagine the possibilities the Lions could be looking forward to in 2015.
Too bad it’s not my call to make, otherwise he’d be the only thing I’d want to guarantee Detroit for a while.
Do you want to look at more prospect profiles? Then click 2015 NFL Draft Top Prospects Rankings: Top-3 QB,RB, WR, S, CB, OLB, DE