20 Jun Preseason Scouting Notes: LaBryan Ray, DL, Alabama
Redshirt Junior | 6’5″, 292 lbs | Madison, AL
A long and athletic defensive lineman with good strength, block shedding skills, and a high motor
LaBryan Ray is coming into the 2020 season with something to prove after having his first season as a starter cut short due to injury. He won the starting job on a talented defense in fall camp after being a rotational player in 2017. He produced as a Redshirt Freshman, and was on his way to duplicating that success last season before the injury. Ray spends the majority of his time on the edge as a defensive end in a 5-technique, but will bump inside from time to time. The former 5-star prospect and No. 1 player in Alabama will be on a mission as the Crimson Tide look to make another trip to the College Football Playoff.
– Gap disciplined in the run game
– Executes stunts well
– Anchor Strength: can dig in and stalemate opponents
– Block shedding ability is smooth and natural
– High motor and max effort player
– Flashes ability to set the edge and beat reach blocks
– Efficient, effective tackler
– Hands up in pass rush to deflect when he can’t get home
Areas To Improve:
– Tends to play with a high pad level
– Get off needs to be faster and more explosive
– Initial punch is either inaccurate or late most of the time
– Struggles to get opponents hands off, needs to improve hand fighting
– Overall pass rush repertoire lacks depth
– Missed all but 3 games in 2019 with a foot injury
– Missed time with a foot injury in 2017
Ray leaves a lot of questions to be answered due to missing almost the entire 2019 season. He was on track to improve on a good 2018, but the end results couldn’t be seen. He projects as a 3-technique in a 4-3 due to his less than stellar get off and shallow pass rush repertoire. His experience on the edge will allow him to bump out if necessary, but his best fit is on the interior. If he can develop more of a pass rush repertoire, he could slide down to a 1- or 0-technique in pass rush situations and provide a team with some interior pass rush wiggle. Teams looking for depth on the defensive line will see him as an asset, and could call his name in the early-to-mid Day 3 portion of the draft.
What To Watch In 2020:
Ray will need to bounce back from his injury and return to form in 2020. If he can replicate his run game production, it will solidify his status as a solid back up option or lower end starter at the NFL level. He will ned to improve his explosiveness off the ball and add depth to his pass rush repertoire. Ray’s numbers in the run game have been good, but if he can make these improvements and make some noise in pass rush he can only help himself. He has the size and athleticism to be a nice depth piece at the next level, but will need to show some fine tuning in his technique to truly raise his draft stock.