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NFL Draft: Player Profile - LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
John Tuvey
March 11, 2009

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LeSean McCoy, RB, PittsburghMeasurables:
Combine height: 5-10 3/8
Combine weight: 198 pounds
Combine 40 time: did not run at Combine

Stats:
McCoy carried 308 times for 1,571 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore at Pitt. He added 305 yards on 32 receptions. For his two-year stay with the Panthers, McCoy amassed 2,946 yards and 35 touchdowns on 584 carries (5.0 yards per carry), with 65 catches for an additional 549 yards and one touchdown as a receiver.

Skill Set:
McCoy isn’t a threat to Knowshon Moreno and Beanie Wells, but he’s generally considered the best of the next tier of backs. He has good quickness to the hole and enough speed to get to the corner and run away from defenders in the open field. McCoy came down with the flu just before the Combine so he didn’t participate in any drills, but he’s been clocked in the 4.4s in the 40. He’s also shifty and elusive, with good balance, and his leg drive and competitiveness ensure he doesn’t go down on first contact.

Experienced as a receiver, McCoy struggles in pass protection; he leaves his feet too much and may be overpowered at the NFL level. McCoy played at around 210 pounds but was significantly lighter at the Combine, again due in part to the flu; he could certainly add pounds and strength to alleviate concerns about both his pass protection and durability. McCoy will also need to work on ball security, as some scouts are concerned that he carries the pigskin loosely and doesn’t always switch to his outside hand.

Possible Destinations:
Possessing all the skills to be a feature back at the NFL level, McCoy will hardly be a consolation prize to teams who miss out on Moreno or Wells; the Cardinals would do well to add him at 31 overall if both bigger names are off the board. In the second round, both the Browns (36) and Bengals (38) could tab him as their back of the future; Cleveland would even get a second shot at him with Tampa Bay’s pick at 50. Because of his receiving skills he doesn’t seem like the type of back who would complement Maurice Jones Drew (Jacksonville, 39), Frank Gore (San Francisco, 43), or Steve Slaton (Houston, 46)—but he could be viewed as an heir to Brian Westbrook with Philadelphia’s pick at 53. And if he slides all the way to Arizona at the bottom of the second round, he’d be a welcome addition to that backfield.

Fantasy Impact:
McCoy brings plenty of pass-catching experience and acumen to the table, but he’ll need to shore up his pass protection if he’s to be a third-down back right out of the gate. Assuming he doesn’t land in a situation where he’s handed the starting job, that’s the role to which he projects initially—and if he can’t handle the blocking, he won’t even be the team’s primary receiver out of the backfield. Worst-case as a rookie he’ll be a handcuff or pass-catching complement to a bigger back, presenting PPR league value. Best-case, he’ll take over as the feature back and pick up where he left off at Pitt.

There are few concerns about McCoy’s ability to be successful in the NFL; he can get stronger in the weight room and concerns about ball security and pass protection can be addressed via coaching. One of the reasons McCoy left Pitt early is to get paid for his mileage after seasons with 309 and 340 touches, and because after missing his senior season in high school with a broken leg he knows the shelf life of running backs is short. Because he’s not at the top of his draft class, there’s a good possibility he’ll land in a situation (Arizona, for example) that might not provide him with the gaudy rookie contract but does present serious long-term dynasty league fantasy value.

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