With a few days before the 2023 NFL Draft, Mile High Report is wrapping up it’s draft prospect profile series.
One of the final players I will discuss this year is running back Eric Gray, whose diverse skill set would be an asset to the Denver Broncos and help jump start their offense for the 2023 season.
Let’s take a deeper dive into Gray as a player and what he has to offer as he hopes to hear his name called later this week.
Eric Gray — Running Back — Oklahoma
Height: 5’9 Weight: 205 lbs.
Bench Press: 14 reps | Arm Length: 29 5/8” | Hands: 9 3/4”
40 Yard Dash: 4.62 | 3 Cone Drill: 7.17 | 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.1
A highly-touted four-star recruit, Gray originally committed to the Tennessee Volunteers and spent his first two seasons in Knoxville. He played in 22 games and amassed just over 1,300 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns on 258 carries. Additionally, he showed value as a receiver reeling in 43 catches for 369 yards and three additional touchdowns.
He decided to transfer to Oklahoma in 2021, but his hopes of being a featured player didn’t turn out and was second fiddle in their offense. He had the worst statistical season of his career with only 78 carries for 412 yards and two touchdowns.
His final season turned out to be his best. Gray rebounded and became a star player for the Sooners. He ran for 1,366 yards on 213 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. He also caught a career best 33 receptions for 229 yards and proved to be a consistent and reliable producer out of the backfield.
Film Room and Highlights
Positives: Instinctive runner who makes the most of what is given to him. Allows his lead blocks to develop and demonstrates great vision navigating rushing lanes. Successful rushing in zone and gap concepts. Possess a compact build with a low center of gravity. Great short-area quickness and shows an innovative mindset in the open field. Has a penchant for making defenders eat grass with his quick-cut ability and spin move. Established receiver with 99 total receptions in college. Durable player who produced well in the reps given to him.
Negatives: Average athlete who doesn’t possess take-it-home speed as a ball carrier. Will be older than most of his class peers and turn 24 as a rookie. Not overly strong or a major threat to routinely break tackles. His ability to consistently get outside and tight-rope the sideline is average. Needs to work on blitz recognition in the pass game.
Overall: Early Day 3 prospect.
Gray’s Fit With the Broncos
Gray is a jack-of-all trades running back whose vision and decisiveness are his primary assets. His quick cuts and plant-and-go nature lead him to productive pastures, but lack of a top-gear and dynamic play-making ability inhibit his overall value. Steady and reliable, Gray has three-down potential due to his receiving capabilities, but would work best as a complimentary option early on in his career.
Some analysts believe Gray is rising up draft boards and could be a mid-Day 2 selection. However, I feel he will go somewhere late on Day 2 or early on Day 3 in this year’s draft. I think he is one of the best fits in this class for Sean Payton’s offense and could see quality reps as a rookie.
He probably won’t ever become a top player at his position, but every team needs a contributor who can take lead reins if need be and Gray has that capability. The Broncos are in need of another running back and they would be wise to consider him.