If I told you Rashan Gary went to the NFL Combine, set a record for 40-yard dash for a man of his size and then dropped 10 spots in one of the more “reliable” mock drafts out there, would you believe me? Well, you’re in for a treat.
I always end these articles by emphasizing how silly mock season is. Players rise and fall based on mostly nothing and insider information is just press from agents and GMs posturing. It’s a circus, but let’s dive back in.
Dane Brugler at The Athletic finally has Rashan Gary getting picked around where I think he belongs, but I don’t see what happened at the combine to get him to drop like that. Gary was excellent in Indianapolis, yet here we are. Meanwhile Devin Bush skyrocketed, moving up more than 20 spots after showing he has legit 4.4 speed.
13. Miami Dolphins – Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan (6-4 3/8, 277, 4.58)Although he is still piecing together how to use all his talent to be a coordinated pass rusher, Gary has the traits that simply cannot be coached. For a 277-pounder, his speed and movement skills are rare, offering the inside-out versatility on the defensive line that will appeal to head coach Brian Flores.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan (5-11, 234, 4.43)Aside from his lack of elite size, there are few holes in Bush’s game. He is an above-average athlete for the position with outstanding football instincts and intangibles, projecting as an immediate NFL starter. Bush would be able to fill the shoes of Ryan Shazier in Pittsburgh.
Over at ESPN, while Mel Kiper sleeps, Todd McShay continues to dominate the game. Gary slides a bit while Bush stays where he was to go last time.
8) Detroit Lions - Rashan Gary: The Lions need edge rushers with Ezekiel Ansah entering free agency. Gary had a good week at the combine, showing his athleticism and explosiveness. A lack of production in college might cause him to fall out of the top five, but if he is coached properly, the talent and skill set are there to be a stellar disruptor.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers - Devin Bush: Bush: Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to replace Ryan Shazier in the middle of that linebacker group. We’ve seen Bush go sideline to sideline with Michigan, but his 4.43 40 time at the combine really drove home just how fast this kid is. He’s an every-down talent and would fit in nicely with an already strong defense.
CBS’ Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson have updated their projections after the combine. Brinson also has Gary slipping nearly 10 spots to the Dolphins while Bush’s projection remains the same.
Miami Dolphins 13 - Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan: You know what the best thing to give your boss? A stud defensive player from his alma mater in your first draft. Gary has concerns about his tape at Michigan and his production, but there’s not doubt he has the upside to be a monster.
Philadelphia Eagles 25 - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan: This is a good trade out spot I think, because the Eagles need more picks, but if not they could easily take a defensive piece instead.
Wilson agrees with the consensus of Gary to Miami, though he’s now bumped Bush back into his first round, going No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Miami Dolphins 13 - Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan: Gary busted out a 4.58 40 on Sunday, confirming his status as a freakish athlete among some of the most freakishly athletic players on the planet. Gary played out of position at Michigan and NFL teams are hoping he can be a dominant edge rusher at the next level.
Pittsburgh Steelers 20 - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan: Same as last week. The Steelers need help at edge rusher and cornerback but if Bush -- and his 4.44 40 -- is still on the board, they have to take him. He’s a sideline-to-sideline thumper who can wreak havoc in the run game, rush the passer, and smoothly drop into coverage.
Charlie Campbell at Walter Football gives us a little something different with Gary going in the top 10. As an extended mock, we also get to see where Chase Winovich may go.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars - Rashan Gary: The Jaguars could grab their replacement for Blake Bortles with a veteran free agent like Nick Foles, or maybe a trade for Derek Carr. If they do add a veteran, Jacksonville could target a defensive end like Gary. Dante Fowler was traded away, while Calais Campbell is aging. Hence, the Jaguars could grab another end to go with Taven Bryan and Yannick Ngakoue for years to come.
In 2018, Gary totaled 43 tackles with 7.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. He opened the season by consistently burning Notre Dame’s offensive tackles and putting steady hits on quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Gary missed three games in October with a shoulder injury - an AC joint sprain. In 2017, Gary notched 65 tackles with six sacks, one forced fumble and 12 tackles for a loss.
The 6-foot-4, 277-pounder is a rare athlete who could turn into a dominant defender. Scouting sources said in the preseason that Gary had high first-round potential if he put everything together, but during 2018, some team sources felt the junior was more of a mid-first-rounder given his so-so production in college. Gary has a tremendous skill set with rare athleticism, speed and versatility. His upside is off the charts.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers - Devin Bush: The 5-foot-11, 234-pound Bush is a very short linebacker by NFL standards, but he has received a lot of media hype as a first-round prospect. In 2018, Bush recorded 78 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, five sacks and six passes batted. As a sophomore, he totaled 101 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, eight passes batted and one interception.
Bush is a bit of a tweener linebacker/safety who might have to be used in a hybrid role in his NFL defense. He could fit as a Will - weak side - linebacker, which would let him use his speed and athleticism to defend sideline to sideline and cover in the passing game.
75) Green Bay Packers - Chase Winovich: In 2018, Winovich totaled 68 tackles with 17 for a loss, five sacks and a pass batted. He dominated Notre Dame to open the season. All night against the Fighting Irish, Winovich showed serious speed off the edge with the athleticism to dip underneath blockers and the strength to fight off the hands of blockers.
Winovich is able to use his hands and feet at the same time while seeing the field well. With his non-stop motor, he pursues plays all over the field. His physical look and style of play resembles Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
Winovich (6-2, 256) is a gritty defender who was always around the ball for the Wolverines in 2017. He had an excellent year, totaling 79 tackles with 18 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles. He had five sacks in the previous season. Given his length and weight issues, Winovich might be better off moving to 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Walter Football’s Main Mock Draft also has Gary going to Jacksonville. Most surprisingly, Walter has Chase sneaking into the back of the second round. He’s been higher on Winovich than most, but this is still somewhat surprising. His athleticism markers in Indianapolis certainly helped his case as he changes into more of an edge role that sometimes drops into coverage.
David Long finally makes a nice appearance here, and as a Buccaneers’ fan I would love this pick. Long has now proven to have the tools to go along with his film. I think he may be a late riser in the game.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars - Rashan Gary: It’s been reported that the Jaguars will sign Nick Foles at the beginning of the new league year. Thus, the team will select the best player available at this spot. The front office has proven that it won’t hesitate to bolster a strength, so someone like Rashan Gary is certainly in play.
Rashan Gary is an athletic freak. He wasn’t extremely productive during his time at Michigan, but he has tremendous upside.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers - Devin Bush: Pittsburgh’s defense has taken a big step backward ever since it lost Ryan Shazier to his unfortunate injury. I have to believe that the Steelers will be interested in a highly athletic linebacker like Devin Bush to take Shazier’s place.
Bush is an explosive linebacker who could be the second player at the position off the board in the first round, following Devin White.
63) Kansas City Chiefs - Chase Winovich: The Chiefs reportedly plan on moving Justin Houston this offseason, so they’ll need someone new to play across from Dee Ford.
Chase Winovich has incredible speed off the edge and never quits. He dominated Notre Dame in the 2018 opener.
70) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - David Long: Anyone who has paid attention to the Buccaneers at all knows how desperate they are for cornerback help. They need to acquire multiple new players at the position.
David Long was one of the top performers in the drills at the combine. He also tested very well.
Gary to Miami and Bush to Pittsburgh appear to be the most popular choices, and they both make quite a bit of sense. I will ask one more time though why “Gary’s lack of production” only became an issue after he lit the combine on fire. I don’t really get it.
The draft is about six weeks away so look for another couple round-ups leading up to my own projections on where the top Michigan prospects will likely land.