Gerald McCoy, DE, Oklahoma
Weight: 295 pounds
40 time: 5.04
A disruptive player on the defensive side of the ball in this year’s draft, Gerald McCoy is one of the top defensive tackle prospects to enter the NFL in the last 10 years.
A three-year starter for the Sooners, McCoy recorded 83 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, and 14.5 sacks during his time at Oklahoma; his best statistical season came in 2009 when he made 34 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks.
An active player with a fantastic motor, Gerald McCoy has the type of explosiveness that rivals Glenn Dorsey’s from two years ago. He does an excellent job of anticipating the snap count and getting a great jump off the ball. Gerald has prototypical size and bulk for a defensive tackle prospect; while he isn’t over 300 lbs, he makes up for it with some of the best quickness from a defensive tackle that I’ve seen in the past few years. His outstanding quickness also gives him the ability to do slants and stunts on the line. McCoy has one of the best bursts off the ball that I’ve seen since I started scouting college football players. He gets off the ball with such a violent blow that the offensive linemen in charge of blocking him will get blown off the ball at times. He does a great job of giving a violent punch to the offensive lineman off the line of scrimmage, which will knock the blocker off balance and give Gerald an easier chance of getting into the backfield.
Gerald has very quick hands and he uses them well, both in the run game as well as when he’s rushing the passer. He does a great job of batting the offensive lineman’s hands down and swimming or ripping through the line and into the backfield; he has a great repertoire of pass rush moves. McCoy is a powerful who consistently is able to penetrate the line of scrimmage
There’s one thing that I love about McCoy’s game; he gets into the backfield on a consistent basis, and while he doesn’t always make the play, he typically takes out blockers giving his teammates a free run to make a play on the ball carrier. He was double-teamed often while at Oklahoma, however he still managed to total 33 tackles for loss in just three years. Gerald has great closing speed with the ability to chase down ball carries in the open field; he does a great job of pursuing down the field. I like the way that he gets off the ball; McCoy has a great first step while he’s almost always the lowest player at the point of attack. He rarely gets stood up or knocked off balance.
Gerald does a very good job of stacking and shedding blockers at the line of scrimmage; he tends to make shedding blockers look like an easy thing to do. There aren’t many glaring holes in McCoy’s game. The biggest question mark that teams had leading up to the draft was when he put up just 23 reps on the bench press at the Combine; most scouts expected him to put up more reps than that and he attributed the low total to nerves. To nitpick, there are occasionally times when McCoy doesn’t play with the best leverage and will rely on his sheer talent and athletic ability to make a play instead. This is something that his position coach in the NFL will get him to fix pretty quickly. To also doesn’t have the type of size and bulk that other tackle prospects have to hold up against double teams and there are occasionally times when he will be neutralized by two or three blockers on the line. I project that McCoy will be drafted in the first round, specifically among the first three picks in the draft.
Gerald McCoy has all of the tools needed to develop into one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL. His talent and athleticism are both superb and his instincts, intangibles, and leadership both on and off the field are also fantastic. He was a team captain at Oklahoma who did a lot of work in the community and he also did a lot of public speaking while playing for the Sooners. McCoy’s best fit in the NFL will come as a three-technique (between the guard and tackle) in the 4-3; some consider defensive end in the 3-4 a possibility as well, however I don’t think that’d be as great of a fit, as it’d take away his explosiveness and quickness off the ball. McCoy is a special talent who doesn’t come along very often and he’s as close to a sure-thing as there is in the NFL Draft.
Notes: Gerald was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year as well as being named first-team All-American and first-team All-Big 12 in 2009; in 2008 he was named second-team All-American and first-team All-Big 12; as a redshirt freshman in 2007, he was named Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year as well as honorable mention All-Big 12. A former top recruit coming out of high school, McCoy was rated as the No. 1 player in the state of Oklahoma as well as the No. 1 defensive tackle and No. 4 overall player in the country by Rivals.com. As a senior in high school in 2005, McCoy was named the USA Today Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named the state of Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year. As both a junior and senior in high school, he had 20 sacks a piece each year.
McCoy is probably the best DL name not named Suh in this draft class. McCoy is an explosive performer that works hard and has the size and strength to shed blockers and make tackles. He’ll also produce as a sack monster as well.
Some pundits claim McCoy is the better NFL prospect than Suh. A likely landing spot for the former Sooner is Tampa Bay, where his talents would fit well in the Bucs’ defensive scheme. He will likely classify as DT, which will increase his value in leagues that separate DTs from DEs.