Prospecting the Draft: Prospect #2 - DT Gerald McCoy

This was not an uncommon sight for Big 12 Quarterbacks the past 3 seasons.

Intro: Continuing with the impact defensive tackle theme, we roll along here on Prospecting the Draft with a review of the other perceived impact defensive tackle projected to be taken in the first half of the first round....Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy.  McCoy is considered by many "pundits" to be a can't miss one-gap defensive tackle prospect that the Detroit Lions and their 4-3 defense should be targeting.  However, there's no telling what trades may take place on draft day, or what avenues the Lions may take.

At 6'4", 295 pounds, McCoy is a hair undersized for your typical 4-3 undertackle.  However, his lean frame gives him room to put on a bit more weight and put him in the 305-310-lb range that many undertackles carry.  The benefit of his current playing weight is that it suits the primo feather in his cap - quickness.  Taking this into consideration with the Buccaneers defensive system and style of play, he might be an even better prospect than Ndamukong Suh for the Buccaneers. 

Taking a quick look at his college productivity, his numbers certainly didn't disappoint:

Stats Overview Tackles Misc Interceptions
YEAR TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
2007 19 9 10 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2008 26 13 13 6 0 0 0 0 1 12 12.0 12 0 0
2009 32 25 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0

Check out his video highlights:

 

Also, make sure to read MockingTheDraft's outstanding scouting report here.

Analysis: Generally speaking... on the scale of brute power vs. greasy speed, McCoy falls squarely on the side of speed.  That's not to say McCoy can't get pressure through a power move/bull rush.  He can.  What he does is explode off the line and get on the outside shoulder of his blocker and get into the pocket quickly.  He probably boasts the quickest first step out of any interior defensive lineman in this draft and possibly in the past 3 or 4 years.  As we all know, quick, pocket-collapsing DT's are a premium in the Tampa 2, so, at first glance, McCoy's speed through a single gap would put alot of pressure on opposing guards in one-on-one matchups and would likely draw help from an offensive linemate, freeing up a lane for the quick Geno Hayes to blast into the backfield.  That simple chain of events would likely cause the opposition to keep a running back in the backfield to chip the linebacker, taking another receiving threat out of the play.  That's the ripple effect that an impact defensive lineman can create.

More after the jump...

Based on that speed, if McCoy gets an inch, he can take the proverbial mile.  How does he get that inch?  The answer, as we can see in the video highlights, is the excellent use of his hands.  Checking out the video highlights at the 1:45 mark, watch how he quickly he engages the blocker and, with one arm, gives a lightning-quick shuck that throws the blocker momentarily off-balance.  By the time the guard can blink, McCoy is already blowing by him and towards the ballcarrier.  Quick hands plus a quick first step leads to a player who's going to get penetration in the pocket quite often. 

His adept use of his hands also lets him get off of blocks and close off gaps and running lanes offtackle and on the opposite side of the line.  Looking at the video at the 2:40 mark, McCoy engages the left tackle one on one, shifts off the block outside towards the direction of the developing play, and beats the running back to the edge for a negative play.  Just impressive straight-line speed from a guy that size.

On the flip side of the coin....one thing that sticks out to me as a negative is the regularity that McCoy fails to keep his head up and his eyes upfield looking for the ballcarrier.  Too often he will get low and drive his blocker back or sideways, while the ballcarrier bursts right past him virtually unnoticed.  That could be a product of the extremely low angle that McCoy takes when he puts a power move on his blocker.  By comparison, Ndamukong Suh's freakish strength and long arms allow him to stay more upright than McCoy with his power moves, thus giving him a better view of what's developing in the backfield.

So what do you guys think of McCoy?  Would his freakish quicks help him wreak havoc in the Tampa 2?  Is he too undersized to become an effective every-down NFL 4-3 undertackle?  Do you think he'll become a dominant, game-changing defensive tackle or will he become an average/slightly above-average player? 

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