By Alex Kozora
Our focus has shifted to the offseason and for the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on several draft prospects. Some of these players the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at and others will be top players that will be off the board before they select. All to make you as prepared as possible for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Breakdown of perhaps the tallest cornerback in the draft. Keith McGill out of Utah.
Keith McGill/CB Utah: 6’3/3 211
– Elite length and great bulk
– 33 1/4 arms, largest of all defensive backs at the Combine, 10 1/4 hands tied for largest
– Impressive triangle numbers and proved to be a heck of an athlete at the Combine
– Turns his size into physicality in coverage, will mix it up with receivers in coverage
– Surprisingly able to stay low in his pedal and shows more hip fluidity than expected
– Long strider, helps mask speed issues
– Length an asset playing the ball
– Helps him high point and can knock away passes most corners can’t, large radius
– Special teams work, even in his senior season
– Some versatility
– Raw and still honing his craft, hasn’t reached potential
– Inconsistent against the run
– Tends to be a shy tackler who doesn’t seek contact
– Will tackle too high on his attempts and uses the sideline as a crutch, prefers to push and shove than wrap
– Questionable long speed
– Average closing ability and allows too much YAC
– Does have some expected tightness in his hips
– Gets caught peeking into the backfield too often, leading him to getting beat
– Questionable effort and interest level at moments
– Fairly older than a typical prospect
– Limited experience
– Not a ton of production
– Medical concerns
– Just 13 career starts
– 2013: 37 tackles 12 PDs, 1 INT (returned for TD)
– 2013 All Pac-12 Honorable Mention
– Shoulder injury cut his 2011 season to just five games, requiring surgery
– Injury lingered and forced to medical redshirt 2012 season, missing it entirely
– Played free safety in 2011 before switching to cornerback
– Spent 2010 at a JUCO, Cerritos College, recording 37 tackles and 7 interceptions
– Turned 25 in March
– Is a father with one daughter
When we talk about cornerbacks as tall as McGill, two aspects first come to mind.
1. Ability to stay low in his pedal and consequently, having fluid hips and being able to turn and run
2. Having enough speed to play the position
To that first point, I was pleasantly surprised of how well McGill did. He does show some tightness, we’ll touch on that later, but overall, he’s very fluid for his size. Heck of an athlete, too. Ran a 4.51 at Indy and jumped 39 inches in the vert. With his height and arm length, that translates to covering a lot of space.
Even though the receiver wins inside on the route, I liked McGill’s change of direction and reacting off the initial outside step. That’s just a route that is difficult to stop. Plus, can’t let the receiver win outside with a single high shell and the safety playing shallow. Funnel him inside. Don’t blame McGill at all.
He’s at the bottom of the screen, wearing #1 for the Utes.
Turns and runs well in man coverage against this fly route.
Shot of McGill showing the ability to stay low in his backpedal. Can pop up but it’s clear he’s making every effort to keep his butt down.
Obviously, love his length. Able to make a play on some passes other cornerbacks just aren’t able to do. It’s a huge plus and undoubtedly why draftniks are intrigued.
Uses his size to his advantage in coverage and embraces being physical.
Capitalized on his lone interception of the year though it was a poorly thrown pass by UCLA’s Brett Hundley. Thrown across his body and a fairly easy play by McGill.
Getting back to the second point of the original two examined aspects, I do have to question his speed. Susceptible to getting beat. Compounds the speed issue by gambling and peeking in the backfield. Dubious combination.
Cover Zero on 4th and 10. Absolutely no reason to be staring down the quarterback. Does anyway and gives up this touchdown on a flag route.
Happened earlier in the game against Colorado. Had the pass not been slightly overthrown, would’ve allowed another TD.
For a player that flashes aggressiveness in coverage, he can be timid after the catch. Doesn’t drive downhill and attack the receiver on this curl. Allows the receiver to turn and run while picking up the first down.
Doesn’t carry over the physicality he shows in coverage to the run game and when asked to tackle. Goes too high and much shyer than you’d hope or expect from a player of his statue.
May be a little difficult to tell in this screenshot but get a glimpse of some of the stiffness McGill has. Shows up most notably when he has to be quick-twitch against a ballcarrier. Struggles to flip his hips. Doesn’t end up missing the tackle in the shot below but that was thanks to the receiver going down far too easily than anything the cornerback did.
Needless to say, there are some large medical questions that were investigated at the Combine. Difficult to pinpoint the exact nature of the injury but it clearly was major if it sidelined him for half of 2011 and all of 2012.
Because of the injury, he’s one of the older prospects. Prospects like Stephon Tuitt recently turned 21. McGill is 25. For a player that is raw and hasn’t seen the field too much, it’s another negative. By the time he fully develops, he’ll be in his late twenties.
If it were up to me, I’d move him back to free safety. Position he originally played so there’s a comfort level associated with it. Because of his lack of speed but length and desire to read and react to the quarterback, free safety is an ideal fit. Will also help mask the tackling and contact issues he’s shown.
He’ll appeal to some teams but for the Steelers fresh off signing Mike Mitchell, McGill doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Projection: Third Round
Games Watched: at BYU, vs UCLA, vs USC, vs Arizona St, vs Colorado
Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Stanford ILB Shayne Skov/a>
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner
Boston College RB Andre Williams
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Tennessee NT Daniel McCullers
Colorado State DE/OLB Shaquil Barrett
Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio
Tennessee T Antonio Richardson
Central Florida RB Storm Johnson
Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
West Virginia DE Will Clarke
Louisville S Calvin Pryor
Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland
Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
Virginia T Morgan Moses
Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt
Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief
Central Florida QB Blake Bortles
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
North Carolina DE Kareem Martin
UCLA OLB Anthony Barr
South Carolina CB Victor Hampton
Clemson WR Martavis Bryant
Fresno State WR Davante Adams
Texas DE/OLB Jackson Jeffcoat
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
TCU CB Jason Verrett
Louisiana Tech NT Justin Ellis
Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk
Rice CB Phillip Gaines
Coastal Carolina RB Lorenzo Taliaferro
LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Cincinnati TE Blake Annen
Alabama LB C.J. Mosley
Auburn RB Tre Mason
Duke CB Ross Cockrell
Missouri CB E.J. Gaines