Steelers Dine With Shane Ray Prior To Mizzou Pro Day

If the past is any indication, a majority of the prospects that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and company meet with prior to the draft, get drafted by the team. Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net tweeted last night that the Steelers’ brass were indeed dining with Missouri edge rusher Shane Ray, prior to his pro day today. If the reports are true, hopefully the Steelers got him some exquisite filet mignon because if he performs well at his pro day, it’ll take a pole vault of a trade up to get him.

Perhaps the first round of this year’s draft class is no stronger at one position than it’s abundance of pass rushers, like Vic Beasley, Alvin Dupree, Randy Gregory and Dante Fowler Jr. Ray is in that mix as well, and today is his day to shine. The only event he participated in at the combine was the bench press, where he posted 21 reps. This was due to a foot injury, but he’s close to 100 percent now and wants to show coaches, scouts and general managers across the league he is worthy of top 10 consideration along with the rest.

“He’s not like other guys from Missouri that we’ve seen,” said an NFC outside linebackers coach. “He’s got serious speed to get over the top of tackles and those other ends didn’t have it.”

This includes names like Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, and I’m sure whoever drafts him will pray he can be a menace like Aldon Smith, minus the off-field baggage.

Standing 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, he flashes a rare quickness off the edge, seemingly being shot out of a cannon with a blinding first step. And with some prospects whose play conjures up the “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” adage, like Dupree, Ray’s tape matches the explosiveness he exhibits, playing every down with reckless abandon, like it’s the last snap of his football career. Those are the traits you want of your team’s top pass rusher, not one who goes hard one play, then disappears for plays at a time. His violent play is reminiscent of former Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, and one need look no further than him rewriting the Missouri record books last season, with 22 and-a-half tackles for loss and 14 and-a-half sacks.

“Shane Ray has got the best first step I’ve seen,” NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock said. “His get-off is just immediate. They even kick him inside on occasion like they used to do with Aldon Smith. He’s got to get stronger. I’m just saying at 235 or whatever he weighs, 240 pounds, he has trouble disengaging from big bodies, and that’s typical for an undersized edge rusher.”

Getting beefed up is one thing an NFL offseason program can help with, but the thought alone brings to mind a current Steeler who fans often clamor needs to do the same – Jarvis Jones. However, Ray’s physical talents seem to exceed those of Jones, and his pass rushing prowess is undeniable. His pro day today could help alleviate that. Scouts are likely going to put him through a gauntlet of 3-4 outside linebacker drills, making him prove he can drop into coverage, something I’ve seen him do without any issues. And of course his 40 time will be heavily analyzed as well, much like Jones’ was when he put up a pedestrian 4.9.

It would be a dream scenario if he somehow fell to pick 22, as he will probably wow everyone today at his pro day and cement his top 10 status. It’s interesting to wonder the dialogue that occurred at dinner last evening though. Was it the team telling him they’re drafting him, promising to trade up? Was it a smokescreen? Or was it them trying to pick his brain regarding fellow defensive lineman, Markus Golden? A projected second or third rounder who’s no slouch himself, he posted 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last season, including 10 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks en route to Citrus Bowl MVP honors.

Golden is the more likely of the two to be available to the Steelers, but stranger things have happened. And although unlikely, Kevin Colbert has always stated if there’s a “special” player, they won’t be afraid to go up and get them. Ray will be a first round pick come draft night on April 30. It’s his pro day performance today that’ll be a deciding factor if he’s a potential black and gold candidate. And much like dinner last night, it’s likely the team will be on hand to witness.

  • steelster

    These first round prospects sure do eat well.

  • kev4heels

    would you trade your 3rd to move up and take him in the mid-teens? i would.
    bigger question is – would you trade your 2nd to get him between 10-15?

  • steelster

    Yes, I would trade the 2nd rounder to move up to get him. That’s high praise from Mayock. The steelers need a big difference maker on defense. They currently don’t have one.

  • Birdman

    Doubt it’d take a 2nd. Maybe a 3rd and a 6th to get between 11-13 but thats fine and I’d be fine with that. This teams needs to pressure QBs.

  • James Kling

    Ravens also showing serious interest, so there could be competition in a trade-up. I have a feeling he goes top 10, do we have the juice for that? If he falls to the teens, would be very interesting.

  • PittsburghSports

    By the draft trade chart, a 1st, 3rd and 6th would only get us up to about the 17th pick. Trading our 1st and 2nd would get us around the 12-13th spot.

  • steelster

    It’s more likely the ravens trade up for a receiver. They are desperate at that position.

  • JNick

    Well if they got on the phone with Darrelle Revis’ agent to kick the tires, why not take Shane out to dinner. 😉

  • Conserv_58

    From the looks of Colbert and given all of the dinners he’s been having with prospects he better hit the Steelers’ weight room. He’s gained a ton of weight.

    If Shane Ray does have a great pro day the only way the Steelers would have a realistic chance at selecting him is to trade up. Then again, DeCastro was never expected to get past the tenth pick either.

    As for Michael Sam, please. He had the worst combine I’ve ever seen of a player at his position. I actually thought his first verticle leap was a case of him joking around because it was so pathetic. Then he did his second leap and the result was the same. A dwarf can out jump him. Watching him run his sprints was comical. His upper torso and hips looked like they were fused together. It was the stiffest and most rigid sprint I’ve ever seen. His upper arms stayed straight down from his shoulders while his forearms, from his elbows forward, were the only thing moving. His performance was totally devoid of flexibility and fluidity. He had no business getting drafted, let alone, brought in as a free agent. His getting drafted was based solely on politics.

  • Rick M

    Makes you wonder how he was co-SCC defensive MVP and how he got 2 1/2 sacks in the pre-season. I don’t disagree that his combine wasn’t impressive and that he’s a tweener who’s can’t drop back into coverage well. But there’s never been an SCC defensive MVP player who wasn’t drafted and he didn’t win the award based on “politics” as no one knew about his orientation. Not going to get into a debate here on a non-football subject, but the guy deserved a shot, got it and didn’t make it. Case closed.

  • JohnB

    It must be cool to have NFL coaches buy you fine dinner for weeks leading up to the draft.

  • I have done probably close to 50 mock draft simulations. One time he was on the board, once.

  • CodeNameJerk

    Ask yourself this question, when was the last time the Steelers traded up in the first round?

  • Ike Evans

    Lol… One time leonard Williams dropped I thought I was in the matrix

  • Ike Evans

    2003 I think

  • steelster

    If you would have taken him out to dinner he would have been there for you.

  • steelster

    yes, troy.

  • steelster

    What is your point ? They are in desperate need of a playmaker on defense. If the right situation occurs I can see them pulling the trigger.

  • Lucas Campbell

    2006 when they traded from 32 to 25 for Santonio Holmes

  • steelster

    ok, thanks.

  • falconsaftey43

    I’d rather trade up for Beasley or Fowler if we were going to do something like that.

  • Brian Miller

    don’t think we have the luxury of giving up our 2nd round to move up. That may be where we get our CB…

  • Rotten Sircus

    I wouldn’t advise Us to trade up for no one player. My thinking is because of Shane Rays injury teams will maybe overlook his abilities hence forth he falls to 22nd. He’s a hell of a player but at pick 22nd he needs to be field ready to start & not sit & watch for a season or more!

  • Brian Miller

    Ha ha, I see what you did there!

  • CodeNameJerk

    My point is the last time they moved up was a decade ago and it wasn’t very far. Moving up from 22 to the top 10 or top 15 even is going to be much more expensive. And IMO almost never worth it.

  • steelster

    I agree it’s a big risk. They do have history on their side for moving up and getting troy and s. holmes.

  • Lucas Campbell

    Ray measured 6’2.5″ and 249 pounds today, a bit heavier than at the combine. He reportedly also ran an unoffical 4.56 in his 40

  • Devon Day

    … Shane Ray…. falling to 22? In the unlikely event his pro day is god awful… yes. Otherwise, not possible.

  • Lucas Campbell

    With Ray running an unoffical 4.56 today, he’s likely back in the top 10 consideration again. Maybe he pushes another prospect, like Dupree or Beasley, down the board and into our laps.

  • LucasY59

    Thinking (hoping?) this may be some more smoke and mirrors

    I would rather have Beasley than Ray

    I rank the Pass Rushers as

    1. Fowler (a lot of people have moved him to #1, which is too bad for the Steelers, closest to being day 1 ready of the group, might have the lowest ceiling, but should be a very good player)
    2. Dupree (Fits what they are looking for with measurables, and IF he can max out his potential, and improve consistency and technique could be the best of the group)
    3. Beasley (really like what he has done to try and disprove his weaknesses, but It didnt show on tape, so still a risk against the run, no one more accoplished as a pass rusher tho)
    4. Ray (one year of production and like the motor and aggressivness mixed with the quick first step, but still some questions to answer)
    5. Gregory (dont like that he has the frame to be bigger (but still is the lightest of the top 5) IF he can add some weight and strength and not lose speed he could develop into a great player, but also has the most BUST potential)

  • LucasY59

    would rather have one of those two over Ray anyway

  • Roy

    There is absolutely and positively no way in hell Shane Ray goes #22……….absolutely “zero” chance!!!

  • Roy

    SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam was trash and was drafted in the 6th round……..while the other Defensive end (Kony Ealy) was drafted in the first round!!

  • PittsburghSports

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • When that happens, I just start over its obviously broken.

  • They do not have the ammo, and have holes all over the defense. One player is just simply not enough, unless you are talking about a JJ Watt siting there. Then yes go and get him.

  • Matt Manzo

    Damn.

  • Intropy

    They’re trying to get him tired and fat for his pro day.

  • Ryan

    Agreed I wouldn’t give up a 2nd.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Kony Ealy did not go in the first round. He went 60th overall to the Panthers.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Heyward, Shazier, and Timmons all have either the potential or are already difference makers.

  • Josh Knepshield

    I’ve watched 6 games on Alvin Dupree, and he is nothing special. The guy gets beaten instantly upon contact with a OT. He got little to no pressure on the QB in any of the games I watched. Overrated, and if they take him, which they won’t, I will be disappointed.

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    I would try to trade our first and fifth this yr and next yrs second and third if the formula works out that way we can still get a decent charlotte in rd two

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    Give Sam a break he had sugar in his tank

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    Imho I think that we’re are planning to be uncharacteristic and trade up this yr and it might be for Shane or Waynes and if they can’t find a trade partner I think they take peters if he’s still on the board at 22

  • Conserv_58

    He deserved his shot at the combine. Period. He failed so completely that he did not deserve a shot to make an NFL team. Like I said, he was the stiffest and most physically rigid college football athlete I’ve ever seen at the combine. He had no business taking up space at an NFL training camp. Don’t even try and convince me that his signing with the Rams wasn’t politically motivated because I read several post combine comments from NFL scouts that said, based on his performance, there is no way he should get drafted.

  • Conserv_58

    More like a steel rod for a spine that was welded to his lower torso. Sam has to be the least supple and flexible athlete I’ve ever seen at the combine.

  • Conserv_58

    That’s the very scenario that allowed the Steelers to draft Heath Miller.

  • Conserv_58

    That’s what they were saying about DeCastro.

  • Conserv_58

    That was in 2003 when they moved up to take Troy.

  • Conserv_58

    Colbert has said many times that they are not unwilling to move up providing the player they want meets their criteria for doing so.

  • Roy

    I actually meant…..he was projected to be a first round pick months up until the draft!

  • Roy

    DeCastro was never projected to go that high!