On this past week’s episode of The Steelers Fix podcast, Jeremy Betz and I were joined by two outstanding NFL Draft prospects: Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson, Jr. and Oklahoma running back Eric Gray. If you missed Jeremy’s takeaways from the Paris Johnson interview, you can view them HERE.
It was a privilege getting to talk to Eric Gray and get his perspective on preparing for the NFL Draft. The Steelers have a decent set of running backs in Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, but the Steelers could still afford to add more depth. Gray is a complete back with three-down potential, and he is only scratching the surface of his potential.
You can listen to the full interview below, but here are three things I discovered about him during the interview.
1. A balanced life off the field will translate to on-field success.
In the interview, Eric discussed how his dad pushed him to get good grades in school and be studious. When talking to him, you could tell he was a dedicated guy and a person who sets his mind to something and follows through with it. This has certainly translated to on-field success, as one of the most noticeable things about his game is his balance. He can do everything, from running, to catching, to pass-blocking. Overall, Gray has a very disciplined game as well. He rarely makes mental errors, and he understands the game incredibly well.
2. DeMarco Murray’s impact will be huge moving forward.
Former Cowboy running back DeMarco Murray is the running backs coach at Oklahoma, and Eric mentioned him multiple times in our interview. I find this quite intriguing, as Gray has a similar build to Murray. While Murray’s speed was on another level, there are many things I see the two having in common, one of which being their running style. When Gray sees an open running lane, he is decisive and hits it with confidence, something we saw from Murray in his prime. Murray was the perfect coach for Gray to be around, and it may very well pay dividends early in his career.
3. Eric Gray would be a great fit in Pittsburgh.
We closed out the interview by asking Eric what would be going through his head if the Steelers were to draft him. Come to find out, his mom is actually a Steelers fan. You will have to listen to the interview yourself to hear his full response, but to make a long story short, it would be great for both sides. Gray is a true do-it-all back who may be one of the hidden mid-round gems in this class. The Steelers have two solid running backs in Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, but they could certainly use another back with versatility. For Gray, he would be going to Mama’s team and learning in a system with an ascending running game. In terms of fit, I would love to see him in black and gold.
If you have not yet checked out the interview, you can do so by clicking on the player below. A special thanks to Eric Gray for coming on, and we hope nothing but the best for him as he prepares for the NFL Draft this spring!