DE JAMES GAYLE, VIRGINIA TECH

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6’4” – 255 lbs. – 4.65e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 13 – 6.5 – 4.0, 1 QBH, 1 FF
2011: 38 – 12.5 – 7.0, 13 QBH
2012: 43 – 11.0 – 5.0, 9 QBH, 1 PD
2013: 44 – 10.5 – 6.0, 21 QBH, 1 FF, 1 PD

OVERVIEW:

Redshirted as a true freshman, then started two of fourteen games played in 2010, contributing in a rotational capacity. Earned second-team all-conference honors in 2011 after starting thirteen games, missing one due to injury. Was again named to the All-ACC Second Team as a junior, starting eleven of thirteen games played. Finished his career with twelve more starts in 2013.

 POSITIVES:

•    Experienced player with three years of starting experience, four years of playing time.
•    Has an ideal combination of size and length for a pass rusher; played as high as 269.
•    Explosive athlete who has reportedly recorded a 39.5” vertical leap at Virginia Tech.
•    Gets off the line of scrimmage in a hurry, can win with his ability to get off the line fast.
•    High-motor rusher, keeps his feet moving and won’t give up on the play while it’s alive.
•    Usually rushes out of a four-point stance but has also worked out of two/three-point.
•    Athletic enough to drop into coverage, even did some work against Eric Ebron this year.
•    Seems like a good candidate to convert to outside linebacker once he reaches the NFL.

NEGATIVES:

•    Doesn’t locate the ball very well in the run game, is susceptible to misdirection plays.
•    Tends to crash down against the run rather than setting the edge and redirecting inside.
•    Gets high out of stance which, combined with height creates problems with leverage.
•    Generally doesn’t win with power, relies on his athleticism to win on his rush attempts.
•    Doesn’t do a great job of shedding blocks, can be controlled if he doesn’t win off snap.
•    Benefited from lining up at left end, rushing against right tackles rather than left tackles.
•    Hand use isn’t particularly good thus far, relies more on dipping his shoulder/bending.

SUMMARY:

Gayle is an accomplished speed rusher who was able to create plenty of pressure over the past three seasons from the left end position. His combination of height, length, and explosiveness should earn him interest from teams looking for a reserve/rotational edge rusher, especially organizations with wide-nine principles. However, his instincts are raw in the run game, and the team which drafts him will have to do some work to improve his pad level and diversify his repertoire of rush moves before he’s ready to contribute. More of a specialist than an every-down contributor.

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