Michigan’s Rashan Gary could be the subject of the infamous draft-night slide in the 2019 NFL draft.
The former No. 1 high school recruit is somewhat of a risk at this point in the draft process. Gary’s on field production does not correspond with the athleticism that he is known for.
His ability to plow through offensive lineman coupled with elite rip-and-swim moves allows him to disrupt offenses.
At six-foot-four-inches tall and 277 pounds, Gary ran a 4.58 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. He displayed his rare skill-set, one of a No. 1 pick in the draft.
For the maize and blue, it was a bit hard to see.
Gary produced 10.5 sacks in 35 career games. He endured a shoulder injury in Michigan’s season opener versus Middle Tennessee State in 2018.
In November, Gary said that he played through it for the first five games.
He played in nine games in 2018, racking up a shallow 3.5 sacks. He had six sacks in 13 games in 2017.
The sack production and injury history may be the key factor in a potential slide. For the Atlanta Falcons, rolling the dice on this kind of talent at pick No. 14 could be a steal in the making.
Just look at Vic Beasley.
In his rookie season (2015 from Clemson), Beasley had four sacks as he started all 16 games. He was practically written off and the “bust” label surfaced for him.
The next season, he led the league in sacks with 15.5.
Beasley was selected to his first Pro Bowl and was named a first-team All-Pro.
The explosion in his numbers was largely due to a position change from defensive end to an edge-linebacker.
Gary played primarily with his hands in the turf at Michigan, but with top speed and freakishly long arms, he can stand up and drop back in coverage.
The Falcons have a stout front-seven, but taping into Gary’s potential may bring out a difference-maker on the defense.
Putting him next to Beasley, Grady Jarrett and Takkarist McKinley has its jitters for Atlanta.
In order for the Falcons to get back into the Super Bowl, they have to stack the defense and/or offensive line.