(McGill) is a tall, well-proportioned athlete with intriguing fluidity and straight-line speed alert defender who plays the ball well, using his height, leaping ability and long arms to bat away passes. —Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout/CBS Sports
The NFL draft is a week away, and while all the talk is primarily on who will go in the first round, former Utes cornerback Keith McGill is poised to hear his name called sometime on the second day of the draft.
McGill has a rare size at cornerback. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, he originally played as a safety before switching to cornerback at Utah. He also put up solid combine results, running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and putting up a 39-inch vertical at the NFC combine and good broad, shuttle and three-cone drill.
McGill finished his senior season at Utah with 37 tackles, 12 pass breakups and an interception, ending up as a Pac-12 honorable mention member at the end of the year.
While it’s likely McGill will go on the second day, some even evaluate him as a second-round pick because of his size and ability. However, others knock him for previous injuries and technique concerns.
Here’s what the NFL draft experts and writers are saying about McGill:
Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout calls McGill a “tall, well-proportioned athlete with intriguing fluidity and straight-line speed alert defender who plays the ball well, using his height, leaping ability and long arms to bat away passes. Baits quarterbacks into throwing underneath routes and shows an explosive downhill burst to close. Generally effective open-field tackler with the long arms to wrap securely.” Rang goes on to compare McGill to St. Louis Rams corner Trumaine Johnson.
NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki describes McGill as a “big, athletic, press-man corner with intriguing dimensions and movement skills,” but goes on to say he doesn’t always play to his size. Nawrocki adds that McGill has “rare size” with long arms and hands. He projects McGill to go in the second or third round.
ESPN’s Todd McShay says McGill has “great size for a cornerback at 6-3, 211 pounds.” He had McGill going in the second round (51st overall) to Chicago in his latest two-round draft.
Yahoo’s Anwar S. Richardson has McGill as a target for San Diego, which already features former Ute Eric Weddle in its secondary. Richardson said McGill “stood out during Senior Bowl practices, and he has the body to hang with big receivers.”
Bleacher Report featured columnist Ian Wharton who says McGill “has the positional versatility and likely fits better long term as a safety in a Kam Chancellor role.”
Cody Tewmey of Cincyjungle.com had high praise for McGill. Tewmey said McGill “has been compared to Richard Sherman because he is so big, it’s safe to say if he ends up to be 95 percent the player Sherman is, he will be a good player. With his size, he is ideal to cover the bigger wide receivers and tight ends that split out wide in today’s style of play.” Tewmey goes on to break down McGill’s game tape in his evaluation of McGill.
Seattle won its Super Bowl because of pass rushing and tall corners, writes National Football Post’s Greg Gabriel. Gabriel then highlights potential corners that fit that mold, including McGill. “He is best in press coverage, where he shows a good jam and can keep good positioning on his opponent,” Gabriel writes. “He is able to stay with receivers through double moves. In zone, he shows good awareness and does a good job keeping things in front of him. In man off, he plays a bit soft, giving the receiver too much room to get open versus underneath routes.”
Mlive.com’s Justin Rogers, writing about potential Detroit Lions prospects, called McGill's technique “raw,” but added he might be a solid pick in Detroit. “Given his size, he can be effective with his jam, but he often opens his hips and shuffles when dropping back, instead of using a traditional backpedal and turn. It's also clear on film he loses too many one-on-one matchups against blocking receivers when coming up to play the run. But good coaching and time in the weight room could largely resolve those issues.”