Report: Missouri DE Shane Ray shoots up draft boards


Missouri defensive end Shane Ray still has a decision to make after the season on whether to turn pro early or return to college, but based on what NFL scouts have seen of the fourth-year junior, the choice could be getting much easier to make.

Multiple NFL scouts told's The Inside Read that Ray has gone from being regarded as a second-day draft prospect (second or third round) to possibly being a top-10 pick in the first round. That would make him one of the fastest-rising prospects in the college game, if not the fastest riser of all.

"He's pretty damn good," one scout said. "He's real sudden and not real long, but he makes a ton of plays for them."

Statistics support that assessment. Ray has made 11.5 tackles for loss on the year, ranking second in the entire NCAA, and 11 of those were of the solo variety. Eight of those have been sacks, all solos, which also ranks second in the nation. The questions about Ray's ability to transition to the NFL will likely center around his lack of size (6-foot-3, 245 pounds). Too light for an NFL defensive end, he'll almost certainly play a linebacker position at the next level. But as with most undersized college defensive ends, the question will be whether he can do more as an NFL linebacker than just rush the passer, and if not, whether he can be effective in that role at such a light weight.

For now, however, Ray is having no trouble getting to the quarterback. Missouri has played just one SEC game so far, against South Carolina. But against two massive Gamecocks offensive tackles in Corey Robinson and Brandon Shell, Ray was none the worse for the competition in making two sacks among eight stops.

For the season, he's made 30 tackles to rank third on the team, but his ratio of solos to assists (26-4) is nothing short of astounding.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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