He was an anticipated member of the 2022 NFL Draft class… until he wasn’t. But after a down first year at Oklahoma, RB Eric Gray roared back in 2022, and his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report is now once again in the spotlight. Is he a top positional prospect?
Eric Gray NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Oklahoma
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 5’10”, 210 pounds
Most of Gray’s collegiate career was spent waiting for him to have the season he had in 2022.
Gray’s always had the pedigree. He was a four-star recruit and a top-100 prospect when he originally signed with Tennessee. And he’s always had the résumé off the field. A kinesiology major at Tennessee, he had a 3.5 GPA in high school and raised money for Touchdowns Against Cancer.
Ever since 2019, it’s been known that Gray would find his way onto the NFL Draft board. The only question was: How high would he go? It’s not a question we have an answer to yet, but we do know he’s moving up.
2022 was a career year for Gray, who amassed 1,366 yards and 11 touchdowns on 213 carries, while also catching 33 passes for 229 yards. This season put him over 3,000 career rushing yards and over 25 career touchdowns. But more importantly, it vaulted his stock as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect.
Gray earned a Senior Bowl roster spot for his play in 2022. And as he gears up for the draft process, he may have a chance to go within the top 100 picks. But does he have the skills as a playmaker to earn that kind of draft capital?
Eric Gray Scouting Report
- Has a dense, compact frame with great natural leverage against contact.
- Can bounce off defenders, keep his legs churning, and roll through tackles with his hips.
- Offers superb short-area agility and lateral burst, covering ground with horizontal cuts.
- Has the loose hips and twitch to quickly adjust attack angles at the second level.
- Can engineer sharp cuts in space and quickly channel acceleration out of transitions.
- Has good initial vision and anticipatory capacity, identifying lanes as they open.
- Can masterfully control space at the second level, manipulating defenders behind blocks.
- Has the patience to let his blocks set up and can quickly play off them with his agility.
- High-end receiving threat with body control, coordination, and stellar RAC ability.
- Willing pass protector and lead blocker with good energy in contact situations.
Areas for Improvement
- Lacks the explosive capacity to escape congestion and flood to the sideline consistently.
- Visibly lacks high-end long speed and maxes out quickly in space.
- Sometimes misses cutback lanes outside when the middle gets cluttered.
- Will occasionally defer to congestion and doesn’t quite have the mass to plow through.
- Sometimes presses too close to the line initially and loses the space to adapt.
- Susceptible to occasional focus drops when preparing to turn upfield for RAC yards.
- Sometimes seeks to merely obstruct as a blocker and doesn’t achieve correct form.
- Will turn 24 years old in November of his rookie year.
Oklahoma RB Eric Gray Current Draft Projection
Gray scores a potential Day 2 grade and could end up being one of the first running backs taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. On my board, age notwithstanding, he’s a top-five prospect at his position. And with his profile, he should be able to hit the ground running in the NFL as a quality offensive threat.
Above all, Gray has experience. And while he is a bit older than preferred, he offers an enticing mix of high-floor and high-ceiling qualities — chief among them is his combination of agility, creative instincts, and density as a runner.
At 5’10”, 210 pounds, Gray is very compact and well-leveraged. That build helps him work through and withstand contact. But beyond that, he’s also a very smooth runner in short areas, with the lateral burst, loose hips, twitch, and anticipatory instincts to set up defenders and capitalize on vacated space.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Gray is a smart runner who has the athleticism to control space. And on top of that, he’s also a very strong receiving threat with utility at multiple levels. He’s not quite as explosive or as fast as other top-end RB prospects. But regardless, Gray has ideal three-down utility.
In the top 100 range, or as a priority Day 3 prospect, Gray can be a versatile, reliable committee member right away. And if given the opportunity, he could become a quality NFL starter.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Eric Gray
Strengths: Talented ball carrier coming off a career season. Explosive, displays a burst of speed through the hole, and gets a lot of momentum going. Quick-footed in a small area, loses little momentum cutting back against the grain, and runs with authority.
Keeps his feet moving and bounces off defenders to pick up positive yardage. Patient, displays vision, and slides off defenders. Consistently runs north/south. Quickly gets out into pass routes, adjusts to the errant throw, and makes the reception in stride. Gives effort blocking.
Weaknesses: Not a powerful short-yardage ball carrier. More of a downhill back than a perimeter runner. Cannot run to daylight.
Overall: Gray was consistently productive early in his Oklahoma career, then put together a tremendous campaign in 2022 as both a ball carrier and a pass catcher. He possesses the size, skill, and versatility to be a productive rotational back at the next level and could eventually develop into a starter.
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