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2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Colin McCarthy, LB, Miami

New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese has said in the past that not every pick in the NFL Draft has to be a home run. What teams hope for is to at least hit a single on each of their picks, rather than strike out and get nothing.

Once you get to the middle rounds of any draft you have reached players who scouts have determined are flawed in serious way. Yet, you also still have a ton of players on the board who can have long, productive NFL careers because of the useful skills they do possess.

Let's use today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to talk about one of those players -- Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy. He is a guy who draws a mixed reaction from scouts. Some wonder about his size. Others about his coverage ability. Some question the fact that he is a 'wrap-up tackler' and not a big hitter.

What no one seems to question, though, is his versatility, toughness or ability to make and help an NFL team. Chick this quote from an NFL scouting director:

"Yeah, he’s a tough kid," the executive told National Football Post. "He runs around. He’s active. He’s instinctive, always working to the football. Gives up a little in terms of size, he's not 250, 260 pounds, but he plays pretty solid for an undersized guy.

"Very competitive player, great intangibles, comes with high remarks from the staff at Miami. So, he’s definitely a quality player and a quality kid.”

Scouting reports after the jump.

Colin McCarthy
LB, Miami
6-foot-2, 240 pounds
Projection: Middle rounds

Scouting Reports

From Draft Countdown:

- Adequate height and bulk with the frame to get bigger
- Terrific football IQ w/ great instincts and awareness
- A reliable, wrap-up tackler who can deliver a bit hit
- Has sideline-to-sideline range and a non-stop motor
- Tenacious in pursuit and is able to close in a hurry
- Displays the ability to take on then shed blockers
- Is tough, competitive, aggressive and super intense
- Versatile with the ability to play multiple positions
- Also projects as valuable contributor on special teams


- Not really an explosive athlete and lacks a burst
- Average speed and quickness with subpar agility
- Lacks fluid hips and has some trouble in coverage
- May have some concerns with health and durability

Played strongside linebacker for majority of college career before moving to the middle as a senior --- Could project to outside or inside linebacker at the next level --- Talented enough to compete for a starting job and should at least be a nice backup and special teamer if healthy, which is a big IF.

From National Football Post:

A well-built linebacker prospect who possesses above-average range in pursuit and exhibits the athleticism to make plays away from his frame. Is more of a straight-line athlete who will struggle to break down in space, but has a nose for the football and consistently seems to be getting good jumps on the play. Reads his run keys quickly and does a nice job attacking downhill.

Really struggles to hold up in man vs. running backs out of the backfield, and simply lacks the fluidity, change of direction skills and initial burst to keep pace.

Impression: An overrated prospect because of where he plays — Miami — and his above-average straight-line speed. However, he isn't real impressive in man coverage, isn't a top-tier tackler and looks more like a reserve type/utility backer to me in the NFL.


McCarthy has a chance to win a job as a starting middle or strong side linebacker. Has great size. Exhibits very good instincts diagnosing against the run and when asked to play in zone coverage. Has enough speed and athleticism for the next level but isn't a guy you want locked up in man coverage or isolated in space against playmakers. Needs to watch his composure at times and stay under control. Put together two productive seasons after a serious shoulder injury so he should check out medically. McCarthy currently carries a Day 2 draft grade.