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2016 NFL Draft: Wisconsin's Tanner McEvoy could change the NFL

Burn your playbooks. This guy could change everything.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have had safety issues for a couple of years now. Whether it's underperformers, injuries or some combination of the two, the team have put out a product that the fans weren't completely happy with. Every guy has their strengths and weaknesses, and none are perfect. That's okay. But what if I told you that there was a player in the upcoming NFL Draft that could potentially fix a problem that every defense in the league faces and has not yet figured out? You should take a look at Wisconsin Badger do-it-all Tanner McEvoy.


MockDraftable does not have data available for McEvoy, so in lieu of a spider chart, I have compiled his pro-day numbers and listed the positional average for free-safeties in brackets beside each measurement.

Height: 6-foot-6 (FS Avg: 6-foot-0)

Weight: 229 pounds (FS Avg: 204 pounds)

Broad jump: 117 inches (FS Avg: 120 inches)

Vertical jump: 33.5 inches (FS Avg: 35.7 inches)

Three-cone drill: 6.84 seconds (FS Avg: 6.97 seconds)

20-yard shuttle: 4.25 seconds (FS Avg: 4.19 seconds)

60-yard shuttle: 11.22 seconds (FS Avg: 11.59 seconds)

Bench press: 16 reps (FS Avg: 16 reps)


  • Measurements. Genuinely his biggest asset.
  • Extremely good coverage skills. Rangy, ball-hawk and gets to any point on the field with ease. Six interceptions in his last year for Wisconsin.
  • Versatility: Can play safety, linebacker, corner, wide receiver, running back and quarterback if needed.
  • Ability to transition between different positions bodes well for the mental side of the game, including understanding a QB and receiver thought process.
  • Untapped potential for a new defensive position.
  • Special teams contributor.


  • Minimal experience at every position.
  • Tackles like an offensive player. Needs significant training here because you can't play every ball in the air.
  • Needs a team capable of allowing development and working within limitations. Not plug-and-play.

Prospect Video

Again, McEvoy was not featured on DraftBreakdown, so here is a highlight video put together by a fan. This is not an accurate reflection of McEvoy as a player, and under no circumstances should you judge talent by a highlight video. This purely put here for illustrative purposes. Apologies for the break in format, but this is what happens when you profile some of the under-the-radar guys.

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Unranked

Mocking The Draft - Unranked

CBS - 436th

Draft Tek - 383rd

Does He Fit With the Giants?

This is one of the most difficult prospect profiles to cover because McEvoy is so inexperienced. There aren't even any videos of him on DraftBreakdown so I resorted to looking at as many Wisconsin games as possible out there on the less than reputable internet sites. What I saw, however, was very intriguing. I'm discounting McEvoy as a potential offensive player, even though his height would bode well as a red-zone threat. I think if you're going to coach him up, you need to be as specific as possible. You need to work within his limitations and give him a tailor-made role on the defense.

If you think for a second about who have been the most difficult people to cover in recent years, you're going to come up with a fair few tight-ends. Rob Gronkowski, his incarcerated teammate Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Greg Olsen, Martellus Bennett. It's a long list, and it's getting longer each season. Tight ends have evolved from the traditional in-line block-and-go guys of yesteryear, but the defenses still attempt to counter them in one of three distinct ways; linebacker, corner, safety. One side of the ball is struggling to adapt and survive, and that's because they're not really embracing the "adapt" half of that concept.

This is where McEvoy comes in. He's likely to go somewhere on Day 3, probably in the sixth round, so he's not a risky investment in terms of draft capital. I'd take him at that price, bring him to camp, and assign a designated assistant coach just for him. Train him up as a free-safety by all means, but specialize on covering the tight end. Make that his absolute No. 1 priority. Every snap of every practice session, you put him on the tight-end.The Giants have gotten totally killed by some of the big names at that position, and McEvoy -- with the right coaching -- could be the much sought after Kryptonite.

Final Thoughts

There have been hybrid-tweener players in the past, but none of them had the coverage skills of McEvoy. Those were strong-safety types, and I think that's possibly why they haven't been a game-changing success. You have to prioritize the ability cover -- have to -- because physicality and tackling will only get you so far.

McEvoy has all the correct measurables to go up against a Gronkowski or a Graham in a way that a defensive back or linebacker cannot. This guy is very much someone who can make a break on a pass in the air, high-point above anyone in the league, and with hands like a receiver, may even come down with the damn ball. If you're worried about his low Big Board rankings, then stop. The unstoppable tight-ends of today weren't drafted highly either. It took a good coach and a visionary front office to make that happen. Sometimes you need to be proactive and look at players a bit differently.

This is a low-risk-high-reward opportunity for the Giants to finally put some demons to bed, and if it goes right, maybe even revolutionize the game a little bit. If it means even slightly decreasingly the likelihood of getting torched over the middle week-after-week, then I'm all for it.