Shane Ray arrived in Indianapolis hoping to affirm his status as a top-10 pick. Unfortunately, a foot injury held the explosive Missouri defensive end out of a majority of combine drills and casts a big shadow heading into his pro day.
"Unfortunately (Sunday) I won't be able to perform because of an injury I had in my bowl game with my foot," Ray told reporters. "So everything that is listed for tomorrow as far as the 40, and all the athletic drills, I'll be doing on my pro day."
Ray did not go into details about the severity of his injury. Missouri played Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day, so it's likely Ray's injury was at least mild-to-severe for him to still be sitting out in late February. (It's also possible his conditioning was limited and he decided to withdraw to avoid putting up below-average times.)
|Shane Ray's Combine Stats|
|40-Yard Dash||Did Not Participate|
|Bench Press||21 Reps|
|Vertical Jump||Did Not Participate|
|Broad Jump||Did Not Participate|
|3-Cone Drill||Did Not Participate|
|20-Yard Shuttle||Did Not Participate|
As a result, Ray's combine showing was a mild disappointment at best and a potential outright failure at worst. Billed as a first-round lock due to his impressive size and speed combination, Ray put together a nondescript 21 bench press reps in his only workout completed. Among defensive linemen that number was the sixth-worst among participants.
If you view him as more of a hybrid player, the bench numbers become less concerning. He did two more reps than Florida's Dante Fowler, with whom he's likely competing in that No. 5-10 range among teams in need of pass-rushing help.
From a measurement standpoint, Ray came right in around playing weight at 6'3" and 245 pounds, per his NFL.com combine profile. While it's promising he's kept himself at playing weight despite the injury, one of the digs against him in the pre-draft process has been his lack of bulk. He'll need to add a little weight before his pro day and prove he can still have elite explosiveness. So far, according to Ray, teams have been generally positive about his weight.
“They told me that’s a great weight for me,” Ray told reporters. “I told them as well that I could probably get to 250 and still be very comfortable holding my speed and explosiveness. I haven’t heard a complaint from any teams.”
One of the problems teams will have in the interim is not having a base against which to judge Ray's progress. Showing up on film, which Ray does in spades, is nine-tenths of the battle. But showing it in the numbers is the only way for Ray to really establish himself among perhaps the most crowded position in this class.
Fowler, Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory and Alvin Dupree are all generally competing for the same spots. At least one of them is going to wind up falling through the cracks come April. There are a ton of teams that need pass-rushing help, but the glut near the top makes it inevitable that someone begins lagging behind.
Ray said he hopes his film is enough to do the talking for now.
“I think through my film and through my work ethic and what I’m going to show people I can do, the judgment will be made by those teams,” Ray told reporters. “Hopefully, I’m lucky enough to be blessed to be one of the top 10 guys picked up.”
While far from a death knell for his stock, Ray's absence in drills shines a massive spotlight on his pro day. Missouri is yet to set a date, but rest assured scouts from Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Atlanta and both New York teams will be in attendance with their stop watches ready.
With a number of his contemporaries performing well this weekend, Ray better hope he's worth the wait.
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