Today we continue our Draft Prospects series with our first defensive prospect, RS Senior DT Pat Gamble. A starter all last year, Gamble was called upon to fill a huge void after Adam Gotsis sustained a season-ending knee injury. He performed admirably, but does he have an NFL future?
As a Recruit
Gamble was a highly regarded 3* in-state prospect who was ranked the #39 in Georgia. Gamble earned a plethora of offers, from such schools as Boston College, georgia, Illinois, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Purdue, Stanford, and Virginia. That's just the Power 5 offers. Gamble committed to Tech on June 7 of 2011, almost exactly 5 years ago today. Gamble stuck with his commitment, and enrolled as part of the 2012 class.
On paper, the logical player comparison for Gamble is his former teammate, Adam Gotsis. Both players have great length and sit in the 280-290 lb range. Both project as 5-techniques(3-4 DEs) at the next level, and thus played slightly out of position in the Georgia Tech defense. However, upon closer inspection, Gamble and Gotsis have several important differences.
Gamble isn't quite as stout against the run as Gotsis, and it showed last year, especially when he was tasked with manning the 1-tech position at times. Gamble performed at a much higher level when he was allowed to move to the 3-tech after the injury to Gotsis. Gamble showed the ability to push through single blocks, and made several run stuffs at the line of scrimmage when not faced with a double team.
If Gamble is going to reach the level Gotsis reached during his senior year, he's going to have to improve some of the technical aspects of his game. Despite his height and long arms, Gamble doesn't have the "active hands" that NFL scouts look for with DL prospects. He'll also need to work on his flexibility and first step.
Oh and he can also block kicks on special teams. I mostly watched the georgia game for film study, so instead of giving you clips of that pain, I'll just give you this:
As I said earlier, Gamble will need to go to a team that runs a 3-4 defense. He's a bit too small to be a 3-Technique, and doesn't really have the first step or pass rushing ability for 4-3 DE duties. During the spring, he was listed at 277 lbs after being listed at 282 last season. It will be interesting to see if he stays lean for his senior year or decides to bulk. He'll need the bulk both for Power-5 play and for the NFL, 277 is small, even for a 5-Tech, and he needs to be about 290 if he wants to be seriously considered as an NFL prospect. The potential is there for Gamble, he just needs to take the next step in his final season to make an NFL career possible.