Lions land ex-Michigan star Rashan Gary in Todd McShay's post-combine mock draft for ESPN
With rumbling the Arizona Cardinals have focused their attention on quarterback Kyler Murray for the No.1 pick following the combine, there was bound to be a shakeup at the top of the next batch of draft projections.
We're seeing some of the early evidence of that in Todd McShay's third mock draft of the offseason, released Wednesday, where he's slotted Murray to the Cardinals, starting a chain reaction in the process.
With two quarterbacks off the board, and another combine standout, defensive end Montez Sweat catapulting into the top 10, McShay has the Detroit Lions selecting Michigan's Rashan Gary at No. 8.
"The Lions need edge rushers with Ezekiel Ansah entering free agency," McShay writes. "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."
Gary, who measured in at 6-foot-4, 277 pounds in Indianapolis, worked with the defensive ends at the combine and impressed NFL decisions-makers with his athleticism. He posted a jaw-dropping 4.58-second 40-yard dash, supplemented by strong numbers in the explosion and agility drills and 26 reps on the bench press.
The former five-star recruit had limited playmaking production working primarily on the inside of the defensive line in Michigan's scheme. In 34 games over three seasons, he tallied a modest 23 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
But on the edge, Gary would have more opportunities to consistently disrupt in the backfield, something the Lions lacked last season.
A month ago, McShay had the Lions taking Greedy Williams at No. 8, but the LSU cornerback dropped completely out of the first round in this most recent projection. Washington's Byron Murphy, Temple's Rock Ya-Sin and Georgia's Deandre Baker were the top cornerbacks in the mock, coming off the board between picks 24-29.
In addition to Gary, Michigan teammate Devin Bush also solidified his standing as a first-round talent with a strong combine performance. McShay pegged him to the Steelers at No. 20.
"Pittsburgh hasn't been able to replace Ryan Shazier in the middle of that linebacker group," McShay writes. "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."