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2015 Falcons Draft Profile: Shane Ray

The draft is months away, but it's never too early to look at prospects that could be suiting up for our Atlanta Falcons in 2015. The Falcons desperately need to bolster the pass rush this offseason, and Shane Ray is a guy who can help with that.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect: DE/OLB Shane Ray, Missouri

Height/Weight: 6'3", 245lbs

Projected Round: 1st, Top 10

Missouri is a school that consistently pumps out defensive talent on a yearly basis. As Falcons fans, we have seen it first-hand with the likes of Sean Weatherspoon and William Moore, but it's easy to forget that players such as Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy, and Michael Sam call Mizzou their home as well. With Shane Ray being a star for the Tigers, high expectations lie ahead for him in the NFL.


Coaches Dave Steckel and Craig Kuligowski have done incredible jobs in molding their players into NFL ready combatants. Shane Ray is no exception, and definitely benefited from them in his quest to 14 sacks in 2014 (led the SEC).

Ray is a player who will beat you with speed. His initial burst off the snap is on par with the best of them,  and his closing speed is there to match. However, don't let his speed fool you. Although he could improve it, Ray's functional strength is highly underestimated. Here you will see him beat his man with an inside move, fend him off, and make the sack. While his teammate does help force the quarterback out of the collapsing pocket, Shane's speed allows him to contain and sack Dylan Thompson for a nine yard loss.

There are many instances where opposing teams design plays to go away from Ray, or to quickly develop to prevent him from arriving in the backfield. When you make this type of impact by just being on the field, it opens up opportunities for other players on the defense to make a play as well. As you will see here, Ray is immediately out of the play, as UCF runs to the opposite side of the line. That doesn't stop him. The Missouri Tiger makes sure he is a part of it. Watch as he tracks down the running back, and brings him down for a six yard loss.


There aren't many major weaknesses that Ray has in his game, but no prospect is perfect. At 6'3" and 245lbs, Shane could use an inch or two and about 10 pounds to reach ideal NFL pass rusher size. We can't really complain, though. It didn't hamper him from accumulating 14 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in 2014.

One thing Ray needs to work on going into the NFL is diagnosing and pursuing a run play. Occasionally Shane will over-pursue a runner, who will then cut back and go right by him. It's something that can be corrected with proper coaching, but it's one of those things to look at when watching film.

Undoubtedly, Ray benefits from one of the most dominant defensive lines in college football. This isn't really a weakness, but rather a caution. Atlanta would be wise to either play Massaquoi, double down on pass rushers in the draft, or add someone in free agency to pair with him (preferably numbers 1 and 3) if the front office is considering making him the pick. A pass rush comes from a pair, and rarely from a single person. Especially so for rookies.


The Falcons need to add a top tier talent to their pass rushing department. Luckily, Shane Ray perfectly fits the bill. He best projects as a pass rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. At Missouri, he primarily worked out of a 4-3 set, which would allow Atlanta to utilize him there as well. Shane is a player that can be kept on the field for every snap, and the Falcons would be extremely lucky to snag someone of his caliber in the 2015 NFL Draft.