Drafted: ROUND: 3 - Pick Number: 105 (SF)
Draft Profile: BioDanny Gray was a dominant high school player at James Madison and was graded a three-star prospect. He however had academic issues and was forced into the JUCO route. He joined Blinn College where as a freshman logged 15 catches for 409 yards and six touchdowns. In 2019 he saw action in nine games and led the team with 54 receptions for 877 yards and eight touchdowns. Gray added three kick returns for 73 yards - totaling 958 all-purpose yards. He earned first-team honors from the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
After gaining academic eligibility for the 2020 Gray accepted an offer from SMU over Auburn, Baylor, Florida State, and others.
In 2020 in his first year at SMU, he played and started eight games and chalked up 33 receptions for 448 yards and four TDs. It was in 2021 when Gray began to receive the attention of national scouts as he received 10 starts and made 49 catches for a team-leading 803 yards (8th AAC), added nine TDs (3rd AAC), and put up an outstanding 133.3 QB rating when targeted on the season. The accolades rolled in at the season's end where Gray was handed a spot on the All-AAC First-Team, was added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List, and made the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Has elite track speed (4.33 in the 40 at the combine) and cutting ability with good hands and toughness
- Balanced, savvy route runner with top field awareness, setting up and selling routes beautifully.
- Is a quality crisp route runner although wasn't asked to run many different routes in college besides verticals
- Is scary on crossing routes - where he is a threat to break deep downfield
- Played basketball and ran track in high school, won the state championships in the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay
- Offers ability on both punt and kick returns although hasn't played much on special teams
- Naturally tracks the ball in the air - especially on deep routes. Adjusts to badly thrown passes instinctively
- Fluid athlete with explosive burst and speed to stretch the field and breeze past defenders. Has a quick first step and gets to top speed in a hurry.
- Has a very good initial burst to beat coverage at the line of scrimmage with the quick-twitch moves to redirect in any direction and create separation.
- Plays fast and confident. Covers a lot of ground in the short half of the field and is slippery after the catch.
- Combines speed, balance, quickness, vision, and crisp cuts to leave defensive backs in the dust.
- Has elite balance tight-roping the sideline and in-and-out of his breaks, showing excellent start-stop ability and burst.
- Has smooth acceleration and deceiving speed. Balanced and very fast with the ball in his hands.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Less than ideal wingspan for an outside receiver - reducing his overall catch radius
- Not great in contested catch situations - will be out-muscled by stronger DB's. Needs to make better use of his hands to escape the jam at the line of scrimmage
- Doesn't do a good job of hiding his routes - must improve at the next level
- Doesn't offer much as run blocker - mostly due to lack of experience
- Does not always use his hands to secure deep throws, body catcher who to often allows the ball into his pads and chest
- Doesn't have the size to consistently win on the outside, but can be productive working the middle of the field and as a return man.
Scouting Report: SummaryDanny Gray is an intriguing prospect who prior to 2021 would have struggled to have been drafted but after an outstanding year and an impressive combine performance he's getting noticed.
Gray offers elite measurables - he possesses sprinter's speed and quickness with decent height and body type to play both outside and in the slot. He's also put it all together and has shown he can be a dominant vertical threat who also provides the versatility to be used in the screen game. Gray, however, is still a little raw and due to playing in the spread has a very limited route tree and also demonstrates inconsistent hands.
Danny Gray represents good value in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft who will likely be viewed as a third wide receiver/deep threat prospect at the next level, although will likely go higher if a team falls in love with his measurables and developmental potential.
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