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    Vincent Gray, Michigan CB | NFL Draft Scouting Report

    Vincent Gray's losses were televised against Georgia, but his NFL Draft scouting report reveals unrecognized ability from the Michigan CB.

    The lows were low for Michigan CB and NFL Draft prospect Vincent Gray across his collegiate career, but the former Wolverine completed his scouting report with a redemptive year in 2021. Those low moments may have some doubting Gray, but watching the tape, it becomes clear that he may be one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the draft.

    Vincent Gray NFL Draft Profile

    • Position: Cornerback
    • School: Michigan
    • Current Year: Senior
    • Height: 6’2 1/4″
    • Weight: 192 pounds
    • Wingspan: 78 1/8″
    • Length: 32 3/8″
    • Hand: 9 1/4″

    Vincent Gray Scouting Report

    The Michigan Wolverines had an elite defensive unit in 2021. A lot of the credit goes to the tremendous pass-rushing duo of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. There’s also Daxton Hill — the versatile, explosive, playmaking catalyst in the secondary. Even future prospects like R.J. Moten, Rod Moore, and Mazi Smith had a hand in the success.

    One player whose impact continually goes overlooked, however, is Gray. Gray was rocky in coverage earlier in his career. 2019 and 2020 were both akin to roller-coaster seasons. But Gray’s 2021 tape was by far the best yet in his career, and his performance matches up. There are still low moments to clean up, but when he’s on, Gray has the talent to be a lockdown cornerback. Here’s how.

    Gray’s athletic profile

    We have to start with Gray’s size. His length shows up on tape, and his Combine numbers only confirmed it. Gray is a hair over 6’2″. He’s slender at 192 pounds, but he has long, 32 3/8″ arms — longer than those of his teammate Hutchinson, in fact. That length helps Gray a lot, but the true foundation of his game is his athleticism.

    Gray has great short-area burst, and even better long-track explosiveness. He can launch out of his stance, and he has the long-strider speed to cover ground in zone, as well as match receivers downfield. Going further, Gray’s easy acceleration and long strides afford him impressive closing speed in recovery.

    Beyond his speed and burst, Gray has impressive fluidity for his size. The Michigan CB is fluid enough to flip his hips and run with receivers upfield, and he has good acceleration out of his transitions. He can snap his hips outside after leveraging inside. He’s fluid and malleable in short ranges. Moreover, Gray can get low in his stance and transition smoothly. He’s quick to recover when jab steps bait him into opening his hips, and he can flip around in phase.

    Additionally, Gray’s length gives him a wide disruption radius. He’s very physical at the catch point, and he flashes ball skills when he can get his head around.

    Execution beyond the physical traits

    Gray is very good in press. He actively uses his feet first, matching receivers with his footwork and fluid hips. He maintains patience and discipline at the line, and he has fast feet when matching. Gray keeps an energetic, responsive base. On top of his footwork, he’s shown he can jam the inside shoulder and squeeze receivers toward the sideline.

    Gray’s solid footwork extends down the field as well. The Michigan CB flashes the ability to quickly plant and pivot his hips on transitions. He quickly reacts to breaks when running with receivers, and he can snap his hips and accelerate to recover ground. At stems, Gray can disrupt routes and limit WR space with his physicality. He possesses targeted physicality to disrupt the catch process.

    Gray is a strong man cornerback for his size, but he has great potential in zone as well. The Michigan CB closes ground quickly but also processes route concepts well, and he stays alert as routes overlap. He rarely gets tunnel vision and is fairly malleable in zone. He identifies routes underneath, avoiding being baited upfield. With his zone awareness, he’s shown he can manage space, position himself, and pass off routes.

    If that’s not enough, Gray is an excellent tackler and a good run-support CB. He squares up, lowers his shoulders, and wraps up ball carriers. He comes downhill with urgency, and he can also occupy blockers, establish a half-man relationship, and wall off outside lanes.

    Areas for improvement

    The most prevalent problem with Gray, at this point, is anticipation. Both at the line and downfield, he sometimes has a habit of anticipating instead of taking in information and reacting. When leverage is incorrectly anticipated, the receiver can take advantage of that. Gray can position himself poorly by anticipating leverage, allowing space to wideouts. In that sense, he needs to be more consistently reactive.

    Moving onward, Gray can do better at tracking the ball downfield. He doesn’t always get his head around quickly, and there are also times where he looks back too early, slowing his pace and losing WRs. In those moments, while Gray has good speed, he doesn’t quite have elite deep speed, and he can struggle to close the gap.

    While Gray’s efficiency of motion has drastically improved to this point, there are still minor inconsistencies at times. He can still make a point of planting and driving more consistently on transitions. He also occasionally loses balance when transitioning and needs space to gather himself. And when receivers get a step, he sometimes gets grabby. His tendency to tug when off-balance can draw penalties.

    Among other things, Gray can get stronger at the catch point and be more consistent targeting the ball. He’s physical but can better channel that physicality. He can also be more consistent squeezing receivers to the sideline.

    Gray’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

    Gray was one of the more surprising evaluations of the 2021 cycle. Obviously, you don’t want to come into evaluations with expectations. But several of Gray’s lowest moments, including a touchdown scored on him against Georgia in the CFB Playoffs this past season, were widely spread on social media. Perception paints Gray as a severely flawed prospect, but his 2021 tape was clean more often than not.

    Gray can still track the ball better and avoid digging a hole for himself by anticipating leverage. But he has a high-upside physical foundation, as well as great technique in man and zone coverage. Gray has superb hip sink for his size and can match receivers with fast feet and fluid hips. He then has the explosiveness and long-strider speed to mirror downfield, and he recovers quickly on breaks.

    In zone, Gray processes and positions himself well, and his combination of length and closing speed gives him disruptive potential. Even if he doesn’t reach the catch point, his tackling ability allows him to make crucial stops coming downhill. Bottom line: Gray has great all-around coverage ability, and he can make plays on top of that.

    There’s still room for growth as a playmaker for Gray, but the flashes are there, and they’re bright. He may end up a Day 3 pick, but I’d easily take him on Day 2. He’s a physical, high-upside, potentially scheme-versatile cornerback with press-man and zone capabilities. He can play on the boundary or in the slot, and he offers lockdown potential.

    Gray’s Player Profile

    Gray was part of a star-studded Michigan defense in 2021, filled with former top recruits. He himself, however, didn’t bring the same kind of pedigree when he came out of high school. Playing both wide receiver and cornerback in high school, Gray flashed with his 6’2″ frame. But he only managed to garner a three-star recruit ranking in the 2018 class.

    Hailing from Rochester Hills, Michigan, Gray had a lot of interest from MAC schools. Some Power Five programs, like Kentucky, Missouri, Washington State, and Purdue also took notice of his potential. But when Michigan presented him with an offer, the decision was simple. Gray chose to play in-state for one of the premier programs in college football.

    Gray’s career at Michigan

    Gray began his career as a special teamer, but he played enough in 2018 to avoid a redshirt. In 2019, Gray only started one game, but he played in all 13 games, earning extended opportunities on the defensive side of the ball. Gray made the most of his action, notching 20 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 5 pass deflections in a rotational role.

    Gray earned a full-time starting role in 2020. But the truncated COVID year presented its challenges for Gray. He was up and down against Big Ten opponents, and he only came out with 3 pass deflections to go with 25 tackles. Nevertheless, Gray kept working, and eventually, he’d earn his breakout season. 2021 was his best campaign yet.

    In 2021, Gray became a key cog in Michigan’s ascent on the national stage. The Michigan CB collected 46 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, 7 pass deflections, and a forced fumble in 14 starts. He earned All-Big Ten honors for the first time in his career, placing on the third-team media squad.

    Gray’s NFL Draft ascension

    Teams that like length at the cornerback position will immediately gravitate to Gray. But as impressive as his athletic profile is, the Michigan CB offers plenty more than that. He’s patient and physical in press, owning good feet and discipline. He offers good closing speed in space with his long strides. He flashes the ability to make plays on the ball, and he’s also an excellent tackler at the CB position.

    Gray sometimes gets buried in a strong cornerback class, but in my opinion, the Michigan CB is one of the most underrated at his position. Though he may sneak into the Day 3 range, he’s more than worthy of Day 2 consideration. And his relative scheme versatility should give him plenty of suitors.

    Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report on Vincent Gray

    Positives: Nice-sized cornerback who does a solid job reading as well as diagnosing plays. Instinctive, shows excellent awareness, and stays with assignments in zone. Works to locate the pass, effectively positions himself against opponents, and possesses a quick closing burst. Effective backed off the line of scrimmage. Works to defend the run and drives his shoulders through tackles.

    Negatives: Gets very grabby and handsy throughout the route. Cannot stay on the receiver’s hip out of breaks and makes plays after the fact.

    Analysis: Gray is a cornerback with nice length who would be best in a zone system or a scheme in which he faces the action.

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