Rashan Gary is not only one of the most athletic defensive linemen in this draft class, he's one of the most athletic players at any position. The disconnect is between physical potential and on-field productivity; Gary played both inside and outside at Michigan and he was often played out of position. He's not an interior lineman in the NFL but an edge rusher, where he can use his quickness, speed and strength to out-maneuver offensive tackles.

College career

Gary was the nation's best player coming out of high school. He played in 12 games as a freshman in 2016, logging a half-sack and five tackles for loss. He improved to 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore but played in just nine games last season because of an injury and finished with 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss.

Among all FBS defensive linemen, Gary ranked sixth in Pro Football Focus' run stop percentage but was 33rd in pass-rush productivity.

Combine/pro day results





277 pounds


34 1/8 inches


9 5/8 inches


40-yard dash:


Bench press:


Vertical jump:


Broad jump:


3-cone drill:


20-yard shuttle:


60-yard shuttle:


Here's Gary running his 40 like a defensive back:

And here's Gary doing "not normal" things during the drills:


Strengths: Gary has an explosive first step for a big man and he's an insane athlete who played out of position at Michigan. He's best suited as a defensive end in the NFL where his rip move can be hard to counter for offensive tackles. But he also has the strength to overpower offensive linemen on his way to the quarterback:

Weaknesses: Gary played out of position at MIchigan and his stats don't support his physical skills. He also needs to expand his pass-rush moves though that could be a function of his usage. 

NFL comparison

From CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Chris Trapasso:

Robert Nkemdiche. Hear me out on this one. Nkemdiche is a defensive tackle. Gary's an edge rusher. But the two couldn't be more similar in regards to basically everything else. Both were the top recruits in the country, had relatively disappointing collegiate careers, and crushed their combine workouts. Like Nkemdiche at Ole Miss, Gary leans heavily on his dynamic linear athleticism to win around the corner and simply doesn't feel comfortable using his hands. He will come out on top in some battles because he's a super-freak of an athlete, but until he gets better beating blocks, it'll be challenging for Gary to meet high expectations.  

NFL teams in play to draft Gary

Jets: New York also has needs along the defensive line, but edge rusher is a priority. If they should trade down out of the No. 3 pick Gary could be an option.

Raiders: This may sound familiar but Oakland also needs pass-rush reinforcements; the team traded Khalil Mack before the season and cut Bruce Irvin during the season. Gary is one of the best athletes in this class and if an NFL team can translate that athleticism into productivity, he could be special. If the Raiders don't get Gary at No. 4, they could package their subsequent first-round picks (No. 24, No. 27) to move up and get him.

Lions: Gary has been linked to the Lions, in part because he played at Michigan and in part because he's a pass rusher and Detroit is desperately in need of one now that Ziggy Ansah left via free agency.

Buccaneers: Tampa Bay has needs at offensive line and linebacker too but you could argue that the second-most important position on the team after quarterback is pass rusher. Gary's athleticism could lead to him being a top-5 selection.

Giants: Depending on who's telling the story, the Giants will bypass a quarterback at No. 6 and will instead take an edge rusher. Gary would replace Olivier Vernon, who was traded to the Browns this offseason. And even if New York does go quarterback with its first pick, it could circle back to Gary at No. 17, assuming he's still available.

Bills: Buffalo has needs at offensive line, defensive line and wide receiver but Gary could be hard to pass up if he's still on the board at No. 9.

Packers: Clay Matthews left via free agency and while Kyler Fackrell is coming off a career year (10.5 sack), edge rusher remains a need. Whether Gary is the right fit is another matter though Green Bay has two first-rounders (No. 12 and No. 30) to decide.

Panthers: Carolina has the No. 16 selection and in addition to offensive line help, they need to bolster the pass rush; Julius Peppers has retired and Mario Addison, who is 31, has one year left on his deal. Gary could be an option in the middle of Round 1.