No, Gray won’t be seen walking across the Radio City Music Hall stage tonight to shake hands with Commissioner Roger Goodell as a first round draft choice. But there is no doubt in my mind that the former U.S. Army All-American will get that coveted phone call from an NFL franchise sometime this weekend.
He is just too darn intriguing not to warrant a look. The only question (or problem) is what position do you try him out at?
If the decision were up to me (and it is probably a good thing that it is not), there is no doubt in my mind that I would have Gray line up at the tight end position. Gray—standing 6-feet-4 and weighing roughly 245 pounds—has the size and frame to be a matchup problem for opposing defenses. Not only that, but tight end may just be his only route to making an NFL roster (something I am sure the kid is well aware of).
As a quarterback, Gray doesn’t have the accuracy or arm strength to play at a high level on a consistent basis as a pro. As a wide receiver, he isn’t fast enough to split out wide and out-run opposing defensive backs, nor is he polished enough at the position to run crisp routes. But it is those limitations that make Gray a potential steal as a tight end.
One thing the kid was always good at while playing for Minnesota was his running ability in the open field. When you combine Gray’s ability to make defenders miss in the open field with his excellent size for the tight end or h-back position, it just makes too much sense for a team that utilizes that position—the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings of the world—not to at least give the kid a look.
But the most valuable asset Marqueis Gray has going for him heading into this weekend’s draft is his willingness to try any position in order to make an NFL roster.
You can’t teach humility. And from afar, it appears Gray has plenty of it.
For an NFL franchise, that should be a risk worth taking.