David Seigerman
Author

Preseason Top 10 Draft Prospects: Big Ten

Jul 11, 2014 4:21 AM EST

1. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska


Beyond Jadeveon Clowney (and perhaps Dee Ford), there wasn't a ton of promising pass rush talent in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

That's not the case this year. Four of my top eight preseason prospects are pass rushers, and Gregory belongs in any conversation about the best of the bunch.

He's 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, which makes him a likely candidate to play 4-3 defensive end (though I could still stand up and rush from the edge in a 3-4 scheme -- he does wear a linebacker's No. 44). Gregory showed great burst in his first season of FBS football, picking up 10.5 sacks on his way to being named the Huskers' Defensive MVP.

Recently, I watched highlights of his game against Penn State (thank you, DraftBreakdown.com), one of the only two games against Big Ten opponents in which Gregory did not register a sack. Still, I couldn't help but be impressed by Gregory's relentless nature. It may sound like a cliche, but he battles. He'll fight through his blocker, work hard to disengage and keep himself involved in the play, pursue plays run to the opposite side of the field. Clearly, he's become an accomplished pass rusher on more than just his superior athleticism and winning favorable matchups against JUCO tackles.

He has a speed rush, a power rush and has shown an ability to cross the face of his blocker in pressuring opposing quarterbacks. He needs to refine his various styles of pursuit, but this is no one-trick pony, getting to the quarterback by the same move every time. Gregory looks like he'll develop into a versatile pass rusher, and guys with that kind of repertoire get taken very early in drafts.