Falcons believe Shane Ray, Todd Gurley could be ready off injuries


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff talked about a variety of issues during Friday's pre-draft press conference, including the evaluation of draft prospects coming off injuries.

For the 2015 NFL draft specifically, Dimitroff was asked about Missouri edge-rusher Shane Ray, who could be an option for the Falcons with the eighth-overall pick. Reports surfaced about the possibility of Ray needing toe surgery, although Ray told ESPN Insider Chris Mortensen a specialist said he would be fine without a procedure.

Dimitroff expanded on Ray as much as he could.

``We are in the process of looking at all of the players that we have on our board of interest, and we deal with not only our own medical people, but the medical people at the respective schools,'' Dimitroff said. ``In our opinion right now, a guy like Shane and other people who have issues like that, it's our belief that they will be ready to play at the beginning of the season.

``Obviously that has something to do with where a player like that ends up on your board. It is a concern when you're talking about injuries. But if you're talking about certain injuries and you deal with your medical people to try to discern whether it's a legitimate concern where they may not be back until the middle of the season ... that's what we're basing our approach on as far as how high we might draft someone, at times.''

The Falcons worked out Ray at Missouri and hosted him at their facility on April 9. Quinn assessed Ray's workout.

``I thought he looked terrific,'' Quinn said. ``We had some great workouts this spring. It always come backs to the tape, honestly. Almost spring workouts have become like another sport. It always, always comes back to the tape. ... A lot of those guys did a terrific job for us this spring both in the interviews and the workouts. I really enjoyed getting a chance to visit with all these guys.''

Dimitroff also was asked if Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who is recovering from an ACL tear, will be ready to start the season based on his research.

``Again, I'm not a physician,'' Dimitroff said. ``I'm led to believe that he's going to be ready to go at some time during the early parts. He's another guy that's going to have an interesting influence on this draft, given his talent along with the concerns for if he will in fact be back or not.''

Dimitroff and Quinn obviously are high on Gurley, although it seems unlikely the Falcons will target Gurley with the eighth pick. Gurley could, however, be a viable option in a trade-down scenario or in the second round.

``Man is he tough,'' Quinn said of Gurley. ``From watching him over the last three years, the attitude and the style that he plays with, he's one of those guys for us in the NFL turning on CBS in the Saturday afternoon at our hotel and seeing guys compete and battle, there's certain guys that jump off to you on tape. And he's certainly been one for me over the last few years.''

Added Dimitroff, ``And he runs with all that passion and all that anger and urgency that teams are looking for. That's what people are looking for these days.''