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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Cedric Gray

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of Tar Heel Blog.

The NFL Draft talk never ends, and we are here at Draft 412 in an effort to keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.

Today’s Spotlight - North Carolina, LB, Cedric Gray

Name- Cedric Gray

Pos- LB

Team- North Carolina

HT/WT- 6’2” 230 lbs.

Born- 10/30/2002

Home – Charlotte, NC

Cedric Gray was a three-year team captain in high school and a two-way athlete who caught 143 passes for 2,467 yards and 27 touchdowns over three prep seasons and collected 130 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 3 interceptions in two years of defense. He was a four-star prospect who was listed as the nation’s 38th best athlete by 247Sports.

As a freshman at North Carolina, Gray played in 12 games, mostly on special teams, ending the season with 1 tackle. During his sophomore season, he appeared in 13 games, starting 11 of them at linebacker and ended the season leading the team in tackles with 100, tying him for 4th in the ACC. Gray also had 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery.

Gray was named a 2nd-team All-American by the Sporting News and Pro Football Focus after the conclusion of his junior season. He started all 14 games for the Tar Heels and had 145 tackles, which led all Power 5 players. He also had two interceptions, one sack, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

Gray is a playmaking linebacker who plays bigger than his listed size. A loose athlete, he was as heavily recruited as a wide receiver as he was a linebacker. He takes good angles and has the acceleration to chase down the ball carrier. He uses his strong hands to shed blockers, which helps him in pursuit and has a great feel for reading the quarterback’s eyes when he drops back into coverage. He plays with the right kind of base for a linebacker and his flexibility and speed will make him a formidable pass rusher at the next level.

Where he needs to improve at the pro level is with his tackling mechanics. He “arm tackles” too often and loses the ball carrier. And physically, he needs to keep filling out, as he was only 190 lbs. in high school.

Gray is on the smaller side for NFL backers but is a playmaker. A strong NFL comparison may be Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Both are always around the ball and have big turnover making ability.


  • Good in coverage

  • Playmaking ability

  • Plays larger than his size

  • Strong hands; sheds blockers well


  • Needs to add strength

  • Tackling and wrapping up

  • Pass rushing

Final Analysis

Cedric Gray is a Draft 412 preseason first-team All-American and a player who fills up the box scores every week with tackles, sacks and turnovers. If it was not for his size, he’d keep climbing up draft boards.

Draft 412- DRAFT PROJECTION- 3rd-4th round

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