The EDGE position in the NFL can see many different types of athletes fill that role. It all depends on fit and style with the team who drafts them. Even fronts prefer an EDGE who can put a hand in the ground and have some power to their game. Meanwhile, a team who runs an odd front may like an edge rusher to be lighter and faster with an ability to use speed to get the passer, and athleticism to drop in coverage.
Ali Gaye has an opportunity to hear his name called during the NFL Draft this year. The middle rounds could see him land somewhere with the ability to make a roster. Here’s everything you need to know regarding Gaye’s scouting report.
Ali Gaye NFL Draft Profile
- Position: EDGE
- School: LSU
- Year: Fifth-Year Senior
Gaye took the junior college route to LSU. He played at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas, and was named to the 2019 All-Jayhawk League First Team.
Gaye’s effort saw him rated as the second-best JUCO defensive end in the country for 2019 after he had 44 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, a pass breakup, and two blocked kicks. He played his 2018 season at Arizona Western Community College, where he saw action in 11 games with eight tackles.
After transferring to LSU, Gaye had his best collegiate season in 2020. He earned second-team All-SEC honors from both the SEC Coaches and the Associated Press after starting all 10 games at defensive end.
Gaye led the Tigers and ranked sixth in the SEC in tackles for loss with 9.5. He finished the year with 32 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. He also surprisingly tied for the team lead in pass breakups with six and led LSU in QB hurries with five. Gaye added an interception, a fumble recovery, and forced a fumble.
2021 was a bit of a wash, as Gaye only played in four games due to two separate injuries. Yet, in his final year in 2022, he appeared in 13 games with 12 starts. He totaled 36 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Gaye was also named a permanent captain entering the season.
Ali Gaye Scouting Report
Strengths: Tall, fluid pass rusher with outstanding athleticism. Breaks down well, plays with leverage, and is instinctive. Easily moves about the field, quickly changes direction, and immediately alters his angle of attack. Rarely off his feet, plays faster than his 40 time, and effectively uses his hands to protect himself. Shows ability dropping off the line. Resilient and gives effort.
Weaknesses: Possesses a thin build and marginal playing strength. Easily ridden from his angle of attack and gets hammered on running downs.
Overall: Gaye is an athletic pass rusher standing over tackle or out of a three-point stance and is effective playing in space. He must get bigger and stronger, but Gaye offers potential as a third-down specialist early in his NFL career.
Ali Gaye Combine Measurements and Results
The NFL Scouting Combine gives us a great opportunity to see how players stack up in various testing environments. Luckily, PFN has full databases of both NFL Combine measurements and Combine results. Below is everything you need to know from Gaye’s Combine performance.
- Height: 6060
- Weight: 263 pounds
- Arm: 34 ¼”
- Hand: 9 ½”
- Bench Press: 19
- 40-Yard Dash: N/A
Ali Gaye Current Draft Projection
According to Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Gaye is graded as a fourth-round prospect. He’s Tony’s 12th-ranked defensive end and 140th-ranked prospect overall. It seems likely Gaye will be drafted somewhere between Rounds 4-6.
For Gaye, his Relative Athletic Score is N/A due to his lack of athletic testing at the Combine and LSU’s Pro Day. It’s possible that this could be a contributing factor to his draft grade.
It’s fair to wonder how fondly teams will look on a pretty big piece of the pre-draft process missing from Gaye’s evaluation. Perhaps this gets rectified at private workouts.
If Gaye’s draft grade from Pauline holds true, I would not be surprised to see a team like the Cincinnati Bengals draft him in the fourth or fifth round. The Bengals have a need at EDGE, and if the board falls a certain way, he could be there for the taking. Pick 163 seems like a good spot for someone of Gaye’s pedigree. That would make him a fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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