Let’s put it this way, if the Eagles draft another edge rusher high in 2015—like they did with Marcus Smith III last year—no one will complain if it is this guy. In fact, if this guy happens to fall to the Eagles at the 20th pick overall, a great many analysts would call this pick an absolute steal. Ray (6’3”, 245 lbs) has an uncanny ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage: ranking third in the nation in both sacks (14.5) and tackles for loss (22.5), according to NFL.com. He may be small compared to some of the other edge rushers in this draft, but he is explosive. Spider chart thanks to Mockdraftable.com:
From a character standpoint, it seems Ray’s rise to athletic excellence is something that would put those Derrick Rose NCAA tournament commercials to shame. More on that subject is out of the scope of this exercise but can be read here. Overcoming a deadbeat father, multiple divorces, time on food stamps, and the tragic murder of a cousin: he still managed to make it to the NFL. It wasn’t always easy & it wasn’t always graceful, but it was resilient & a testament to his nature. It’s a story any NFL fan base can rally behind & a type-of-guy that would draw Kelly’s eye.
On the field, he is drawing comparisons to Chris Clemons. Here is what NFL.com has to say:
SOURCES TELL US: "He's not like other guys from Missouri that we've seen. He's got serious speed to get over the top of tackles and those other ends didn't have it. You just wish he was a little longer." -- NFC outside linebackers coach
NFL COMPARISON Chris Clemons
BOTTOM LINE It's hard to find many play weaknesses for Ray, but his lack of overall length is one area that some teams have concerns about. He pursues the quarterback and the ball like it's his last snap. An alpha male packaged in an explosive frame, Ray has the traits and skills to be a dominant pass rusher and potential Pro Bowler. He also has the athleticism and strength to play in any defensive front.
Here is a set of game film from Ray’s 2014 game against the South Carolina Gamecocks:
The Eagles have reportedly already met with Ray: though it is unclear if it was one of the 30 visits the Eagles are afforded at Novacare or in another setting. This is a guy that fits on any defense & would come in and round out an impressive front seven & LB corps.