A three-star DT recruit, Gaston had offers from Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Boston College, but committed to Purdue and saw immediate playing time as a true freshman starter. He started next to 2013 2nd round DT Kawann Short for three straight seasons with consistent production, but was up-and-down in 2013 as a senior without Short and playing outside at 5-technique in the newly implemented 3-4 scheme. He did collect a career-best in tackles (48) in 2013 and led the team in tackles for loss (7.0) and sacks (3.0). Gaston doesn?t have great length and his on-field strength leaves a lot to be desired, but he?s country strong to hold his ground despite often losing leverage, allowing his pads to rise off the snap. He is more of a plugger than consistent pass rusher and won?t consistently play on the other side of the line of scrimmage, but brings high character and high effort and should provide quality depth at the next level.
STRENGTHS: Wide-hipped and broad shouldered with good upper and lower body build. Moves well for his size with smooth footwork, carrying his weight well to redirect his momentum. Good lateral agility with some range to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage. Routinely around the ball with improved tracking ability and awareness. Active, aggressive hands with strong wrists to work past the initial block and force the issue. Physical striker and enjoys contact. Will drop his belt and anchor at the point of attack, digging his cleats into the ground. Confident, upbeat attitude and playing style, working through the whistle. Solid resume as a four-year starter (44 career starts) with moderate production and experience in multiple schemes (24.0 career tackles for loss).WEAKNESSES: Filled out frame, but suspect functional strength. Pops upright off the snap and struggles with leverage immediately, putting him at an instant disadvantage. Allows himself to get tied up and worn down when initially stopped, struggling to disengage. Limited rush technique and lacks consistent counter moves. Questionable finisher at the ball and needs to do a better job breaking down and controlling his momentum. Minor durability concerns after 2013 off-season surgery (left thumb) and a nagging hamstring issue. Looked lost at times as a senior, struggling to adjust to three-man front and 5-technique spot. Never earned All-Conference honors despite starting the last four seasons.--Dane Brugler
02/17/2014 - 2014 NFL COMBINE SNUB: Defensive Tackle - Bruce Gaston, Purdue...After a notable junior season playing next to Kawann Short, Gaston had a ho-hum senior season as he struggled to adjust to Purdue's new 3-4 defensive scheme. He looks the part and has good snap quickness to attack gaps and keep his hips low to anchor at the point of attack. Gaston had a positive week at the East-West Shrine game and is considered draftable. OTHER DT SNUBS: Calvin Barnett (Oklahoma State), Wade Keliikipi (Oregon), Beau Allen) - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com