Ravens Like Shane Ray, Other Pass Rushers


Head Coach John Harbaugh was on the treadmill early Wednesday morning when General Manager Ozzie Newsome walked into the gym. 

The two, who are both knee-deep in college tape, struck up a conversation about Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray.

"We both like him," Harbaugh readily admitted.

The SEC's reigning Defensive Player of the Year logged 65 tackles last year, including a staggering 22.5 for loss and 14.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles.

"What jumps out first of all is his motor, right? This guy has an unbelievable motor," Harbaugh said. "He's going to get plenty of NFL sacks just because he's going to keep coming relentlessly."

Perhaps Ray plays with so much emotion and heart because of his background.

He grew up sleeping on floors in the zip code known as Kansas City's "murder factory," wrote ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill. Had he not found football, Ray said he knows he could be dead. Ray also has football in his veins, as his father, Wendell Ray, was a fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1981.

Ray is projected by some pundits to be a top-10 pick considering his high motor, versatility and strong burst off the edge. In terms of being a pure pass rusher, he's one of the best prospects in the class.

"He's a leverage rusher with subtle speed to work the edges," Harbaugh said. "He can work the edge of an offensive tackle like few other guys. So, he's an interesting guy."

But there is a wide range of opinions on where he'll eventually land, and he could sneak down to the Ravens at No. 26. That's because there are questions about how well Ray works in space as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, and how well he'll hold the edge in the run game.

Ray isn't the only outside linebacker that could interest the Ravens in the first round. And according to Owner Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore could very well take a pass rusher with its top pick.

Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta confirmed that Baltimore brought Nebraska's Randy Gregory to Baltimore for an official pre-draft visit. Gregory notched 54 tackles, seven sacks and one interception last season. He had 17.5 sacks in his two years.

DeCosta also named Clemson's Vic Beasley and Kentucky's Bud Dupree as "two guys that we think are pretty good prospects."

Beasley had 34 tackles (21.5 for loss) and 12 sacks last season. He had 13 sacks as a junior and eight as a sophomore, showing consistent results. The knock on Beasley is he's a bit undersized, but he's still widely seen as a top-20 pick.

"You've got Vic Beasley, a very, very explosive guy out of Clemson, a top tester at the combine. He's a very, very disruptive pass rusher," DeCosta said. "He does everything well."

Dupree is a 6-foot-4 senior who had 7.5 sacks as a senior and 23.5 over his career. He also notched an interception for a touchdown and two forced fumbles last season. Dupree could go anywhere in the first round.

"Extremely athletic, tremendous combine workout," DeCosta said. "He's another guy that can play in space, he's got size, he matches up very well in coverage versus tight ends, which is unusual to find an outside linebacker that has that type of cover ability, like an Adalius Thomas athletically."

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