Keith McGill, CB, Utah
Height: 6’2” Weight: 205
25 Years Old, Senior
2013 Stats: 37 TCK, 0.5 TFL, 1 INT, 13 PD
2013 Coverage: 11/33 (33%), 164 YDS, TD, INT, 9 PD, 48.0 QBR (5 Games)
2012 Stats: Injured
A four star recruit as a JUCO player, Keith McGill had the opportunity to go a variety of schools including Arizona State, Oregon State and San Diego State among others. Without any massive offer, he chose the University of Utah apparently because it was the best move for him and his family. I would say that the move has paid off for him. McGill is now looked at as a defensive back who could possibly go as high as the second round in May. After missing all of 2012 with a shoulder injury, McGill’s rise back to prominence has been very intriguing. A safety by trade, he has transitioned to cornerback fairly well in 2013. With that being said, teams will definitely see the versatility and may use him in his more natural position of safety, primarily in a ball-hawking role.
vs. Utah State: 1/4, 24 YDS, PD
@ BYU: 4/8, 64 YDS, 3 PD
vs. UCLA: 2/7, 20 YDS, INT, PD
vs. Arizona State: 0/4, 2 PD
vs. Colorado: 4/10, 56 YDS, TD, 2 PD
Final Coverage Stats: 11/33 (33%), 164 YDS, TD, INT, 9 PD, 48.0 QBR
Physical: This will be no problem at all for McGill moving to the next level. With a long and rangy frame, he is able to utilize his reach advantage and also his height advantage when going up for jump balls. He definitely doesn’t look like a cornerback while on the field as he is bigger than some linebackers. This could be a problem for him however because his frame may not allow him to be fluid enough to stick at corner. A move to safety seems imminent. Health wise, McGill has had nagging injuries his whole career and even missed all of 2012 with a significant shoulder injury. Health reports could negate his stock a bit if teams are scared by what they see.
Speed: As tall as he is, his speed isn’t too bad, but I am not sure that he has the ability to run with receivers down the field in the NFL. McGill is a long strider with decent deep speed, but doesn’t have the type of short area burst or fluidity to shadow athletic receivers. Down the field, he is okay when running in a straight line, but receivers will have the ability to blow past him if he doesn’t attempt to jam. He also doesn’t possess the type of active feet that allow him to change directions very quickly so receivers will be able to abuse that a bit. With all of that being said, he is pretty good with his speed when put in situations where he can use his other natural talents to help compensate. This is another reason why I think he will thrive if moved to safety.
Intelligence: This isn’t an area of concern for McGill, but mental lapses will happen with him at times. They play a lot of zone and deep zone at Utah and he will generally cover his area correctly. There are times where miscommunication will happen though, particularly with calls when there is a safety over the top in man. His controlled aggression is a sign of maturity and he hasn’t been called for one penalty in coverage in the five games I have watched him play. As a safety, McGill has the type of intelligence that could help him play centerfield with quick reaction times and solid decision making.
Coverage: For a guy with McGill’s size, it may come as a surprise that he does not press receivers too often. He can usually be seen playing straight man or off-man coverage. One reason for this is because Utah doesn’t want McGill to be beaten down the field by quicker receivers that could burn him off the snap. His physicality is actually a bit overstated as he is more of a read & react corner instead of a true press guy. When in man coverage, he does a nice job of sticking close to his man on routes underneath. He uses his strength to fight for the football as well. While in zone coverage, I believe he is more in his comfort zone. He is smart and aggressive, which is a deadly combo for a guy with his ball skills. McGill is able to read the quarterbacks eyes effectively and should be able to defend passes well on the next level. As a safety, he would be an excellent guy to help cover tight ends or play centerfield and make plays on the football.
Run Defense/Tackling: This is a major area of concern for McGill and one reason why I am hesitant to firmly place him as a safety prospect. As a corner, there is not much effort shown from him against the run. Teams actually run to his side of the field quite a bit but he is extremely passive and relies on his teammates to make plays. You will see McGill washed out of running plays at least a few times a game. Now, I do believe that he could improve in this area and eventually turn into a solid run defender. He is just going to need to change his attitude and effort in this area. He has shown the ability to shed blocks when he tries. Tackling wise, he is generally a decent tackler, but he will miss his fair share as well. He doesn’t make a lot of good form tackles but his size helps him take down players. He will need to improve on these two areas a great deal before he wants to be a complete player.
Technique: He has only been a corner for one season, so there are some technical deficiencies. His inability to press cover correctly has been a problem for him in the past. He tends to get off balanced too quickly and allows leverage right off the snap. His hips are also a bit tight and he struggles to fluidly transition from a backpedal to a sprint. McGill’s long legs also make it difficult for him to keep a low base and gain leverage on receivers who can bend a bit better. On the positive side, he utilizes his arms correctly while in coverage. When playing the football, he uses his length and outside arm to deflect passes. McGill also gets his head back to the football consistently. His footwork is actually above average for a player of his size as well even though false steps were somewhat of a problem. Still, he has a lot of work to do before making the jump.
Notes: McGill has special teams experience as he is part of the kickoff coverage team. His ability to blitz is also an underrated part of his game and could be a weapon in the future.
Outlook: McGill strikes me as a typical tweener CB/S prospect. Although he has shown the ability to effectively cover in college, his speed and inability to flip his hips fluidly will definitely hurt him as he moves into the pro ranks. His inability to play the run may also be a contributing factor in keeping him as a cornerback. Still, his size and athleticism are intriguing as well as his upside moving forward. He is a bit older than most, he will be 25 years old when the season starts, but he has only had one full season at cornerback at the college ranks. I believe that McGill would be best to play safety if he can play with a little bit more effort, but would provide nice depth at cornerback as well.