I'm still struggling through 60 prospects in 60 days, inevitably a few
spots behind target but still grinding it out. Today's 25 to 85 (ish)
prospect is Utah CB Keith McGill. Carolina's suddenly quite short on
Utah alumni after the hole that Steve Smith and Jordan Gross both leave
behind, both holes I believe Carolina has yet to fully address in
various forms. Like Smith, McGill went to Utah via a Los Angles area
JuCo, so he has two years major college experience (and a redshirt).
McGill, of course, can't help you there. But he fits another, obvious
hole, the ongoing issues at cornerback.
McGill's an ideal Ron Rivera cornerback - with good enough speed (4.51),
but exceptional considering the length (6'3, 211) and ranginess that
Rivera (and most everyone really) covets. He uses that size well in
coverage, boxing out and at times baiting the underneath throw. His
hands are just good, and I don't know if he's a true ballhawk, but he's
a tough downfield defender who's natural in coverage. McGill does have
safety experience, playing one of his two years at free safety.
Again, paralleling Smith's situation, there's an injury concern while at
Utah. It's only one issue, but it cost him half of 2011 and all of 2012
with a shoulder injury. Like Smith's collarbone issue, I don't think
it's a concern longterm, but a few outside sources suggest he's gotta
pass physicals/show durability.
I don't know if it's related, but for a safety-sized corner, McGill
doesn't tackle quite as hard or hit as hard as you might hope, and he'll
have to beat blocks better/with more enthusiasm in the pro game.
The parallels to Smith are anecdotal. Ignore them if you want -
they're two completely different players overall, they just went down
the same paths. McGill could use a small amount more of Smith's fire
(if properly used, couldn't we all?) but I think he's an ideal fit in
Carolina. The issue is application. Antoine Cason is an outside
receiver. I can't imagine Melvin White, even though I expect some
upgrade in play going into year two, suddenly becoming less stiff. They
could throw him into the slot, but I don't know. They have Josh Thomas,
but he's somewhat of a step down.
So in the case that McGill is the choice - currently that value is
mid-3rd, give or take, and like the CB I wanted in '12, Trumaine
Johnson, I think that McGill could bubble up to the 2nd-
it's to where it likely upgrades on White, competing at the very least,
but the team would remain deficient at the 3rd CB spot since all three
guys are better suited to the outside role.
Potentially still worth it - the Best Player Available philosophy
doesn't seem to concern itself with what type of corner or receiver
you're in greater need of, anymore than it's worried about whether you
need a corner or receiver more. In the end, long term with Cason being
on a one year deal (I think Carolina will have wished he was on a 2-3
year deal by the end of the year, personally), this type pick still
makes a lot of sense. But with the Seahawks' corners fitting McGill's
profile, copycat teams will probably pluck him early.