One of the top pass-rushing prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft may need foot surgery before his pro career even begins.
Missouri Tigers defensive end Shane Ray is one of the top defenders in this draft, and someone who should hear his named called within the first 12-16 picks.
However, NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein reports Ray has suffered a foot injury, which could put him out for five months, depending on the doctor's recommendation from whatever team ends up drafting him. Zierlein also suggests that the injury could potentially drop Ray out of the first round.
Mock Draft: Bengals nab Missouri DE Shane Ray
In the latest Mock Draft from SB Nation's Mocking the Draft, they have Missouri DE/OLB Shane Ray falling to No. 21 to the Bengals. Ray finished last season with the fifth-most sacks (13) in FBS.
Ray may still be a first-round pick, but this isn't a good way to start his pro career. This past season, Ray registered a school-record 14 sacks at defensive end , becoming the SEC defensive player of the year and a consensus first-team All-American.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder is a force along the defensive line, but any pre-draft injury will make even the best prospects slip on Draft Day. It's hard to see him falling past the Bengals at No. 21, especially since they tend to take high draft picks and essentially redshirt them their rookie years.
CBS ranks Ray as the No. 1 DE prospect and 11th-overall player. Here is some of their breakdown on Ray:
Extraordinary athlete who reportedly has been clocked at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has a 40-plus-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump and bench presses over 400 pounds.
Launches himself off the line with an explosive first step to beat tackles off the snap and can fly by and around them, showing the flexibility and balance to scrape the corner and close. He complements the speed rush with a quick jab-step back to the inside and a swim over the top to counter when opponents start leaning outside.
Ray locates the football quickly and changes directions fluidly to pursue. Reaction quickness is awesome, decisively making plays and chasing down the action with an outstanding motor. Shows good effort in run pursuit.
Ray is still developing his pass rush sequence and arsenal of moves, but his first step quickness and sustained burst off the edge are special and should have him drafted very early when he decides to enter the NFL Draft.
#Mizzou DE Shane Ray saw a foot specialist today. Source said doc’s recommendation was not surgery. Big news for potential 1st rounder.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2015
#Mizzou DE Shane Ray had an injury, like turf toe, discovered during a team visit. Thought surgery was his reality. Instead, simply rest.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2015