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Voted by Pac-12 offensive lineman as the best defensive lineman in the league in 2018, Gaines displayed a competitive fire at the Senior Bowl, drawing comparison to recently retired Buffalo Bills standout nose guard Kyle Williams.
Gaines lacks ideal size and isn't going to run down many ballcarriers from behind, which just makes his 149 career tackles (including 7.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks) that much more impressive. The production stands as an indication of just how effective he is in his run-stuffing role.
Gaines isn't likely to hear his name called until deep into Day Three but he'll eventually outplay that sticker, just as the 6-1, 303 pound Williams - a six-time Pro Bowler - did after lasting until the fifth round (No. 134 overall) of the 2006 draft despite a stellar college career at LSU.
Gaines is undersized, including below average arm length, but is a proven, powerful interior run stuffer. Gets lower with a squatty frame conducive to winning the leverage battle at the line of scrimmage. Broad-shouldered with a square-ish frame overall, including a thick, wide lower half and tree stumps for limbs which root him to the ground when anchoring against double teams.
Active hands and is surprisingly slippery as a pass rusher, showing good initial quickness and lateral agility. He tires quickly, however, showing limited ability to make plays outside of the tackle box, despite terrific effort in pursuit, including downfield.
Physical tackler who isn't afraid to leave his feet to leave an impression on ballcarriers, generating impressive knockdown power as a hitter and generally wrapping his arms for good measure... Durable performer. Four-year starter at Washington with 51 games played (47 starts) and yet opted to compete at the Senior Bowl as well.
Projection: Fifth Round
--Field Level Media