Seahawks Rumors: USM DT Anthony Gray in the Fray (See How I Rhymed That? I'm So Hilarious)

Per University of Southern Mississippi beat writer Patrick Magee, defensive tackle Anthony Gray was contacted by the Seahawks and Packers during the draft and Gray expects to be signed as a free agent once this lockout crap gets sorted out. Tip of the cap to Davis Hsu for the heads up.

I profiled Gray a bit yesterday in my ongoing UDFA target series, but this news gives us a little more to work with other than pure conjecture. 

Per yesterday, 'Gray is 5'11 330 and could provide some depth at the 1-tech spot. He's very aggressive off the snap and has pretty decent numbers, as he racked up 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and one pass broken up in his career at Southern Miss. If he can be coached up on his discipline he could be a factor on the d-line for the Hawks.'

Gray is extremely strong (39 reps of 225) and surprisingly quick for a 330 pounder (5.0 in the forty, 4.63 short shuttle - relatively good for a guy his size). He's a violent, aggressive and and disruptive lineman and the more I think about it could actually provide depth at several positions along the line. He's on the short side for a d-lineman but he anchors well, plays with leverage and has long arms, and is very good against the run. He sounds like a player that could play 1-tech, backup at 3-tech, and compete at the 5-tech spot as well.

Here's what the experts are saying about Gray, first from Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Good initial quickness... Can get some penetration... Disruptive... Can push the pocket... Good strength... Good power... Strong hands... Very solid initial punch... Reasonably long arms... Plays with good leverage... Does an adequate job shedding blocks and making plays... Can shoot through gaps... Very solid bull rusher... Does a nice job versus the run... Very good anchor... Occupies double teams well... Clogs the middle... Space eater... Can stack and shed reasonably well... Does a solid job pursuing the ball... Solid drops in coverage... Works hard... Competitive... Three year starter... 3-4 NT potential, nice sleeper prospect.

Negatives: Not a pass rusher... Not real explosive... Slow foot speed... Squatty... Top heavy... Overruns too many plays... Gets too far upfield... Can be pushed away from the action... Lowers his head... Plays too high... Marginal change of direction agility... Not real instinctive... Marginal awareness... Has trouble locating the football... Inconsistent... Doesn't always give the best effort.

Now, from CBS Sports Hunter Ansley:

Strengths: Owns thick, short frame, making him very difficult to move. Usually gains leverage, even against larger offensive linemen. Fires quickly off the snap. Pins his ears back and catapults into the backfield in passing situations. Plays with violence inside and flashes the ability to shed blocks in tight quarters. Anchors well and possesses good core strength. Fights to the whistle and works with a nasty demeanor and no fear. Is aggressive in pursuit and surprises with his tracking speed from the backside. Simply engulfs ballcarriers coming into his area.

Weaknesses: First step is inconsistent. Gets off the ball late, allowing offensive linemen to get into position before he can get a push. Too often pushed beyond the play, lacks great instincts and length to disengage. Fires past the run when looking to get pressure on the passer. Gradually rises up after initial contact, losing his natural leverage and allowing larger linemen to lock on. Does not change directions well, struggles to move laterally when his pads get out ahead of his legs.

Gray could be one of the UDFA's on the Seahawks shopping list so keep him in mind.

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