Lerentee McCray is an outside linebacker for the University of Florida who's an interesting fit for multiple teams as a tweener. He could be used best in a revolving defense, but ideally, a team will have to feel comfortable with his talents. Follow along as we go over McCray's pro projection:
+ He has some of the best hand usage in the class
+ He's very talented at setting the edge
+ His pass-rushing skills are top notch.
- His pass coverage skills are lacking.
- He's had some injury issues throughout his career.
- His tackling is inconsistent despite solid fumble forcing abilities
Lerentee McCray should go anywhere from the middle of the third round to the end of the draft. If he goes undrafted, someone will have a true steal.
Best Team Fits
ATL, MIA, NE as a DE. BAL, NYJ, AZ as an OLB.
McCray is quick athletically and has a solid frame. However, he's a little underdeveloped and could gain another 5-10 pounds of muscle without losing any quickness. His quickness and change of direction ability is the highlight of his game, but he also has great upper body strength to fend off blocks.
Intangibles, Character and Injuries ( + and - )
Lerentee McCray is a great character with no arrests or suspensions on his record. He was never a team captain, but he also isn't the kind of guy who created problems in the locker room. He worked hard, played the role assigned him to the best of his ability and accepted coaching well—something you could tell by his constant improvement every game.
He also had issues with injuries his last two seasons in Gainesville. While he rarely missed time—just five games in that time span—he was still someone who would get a ton of nagging small injuries that could possibly cost him time on the field.
McCray was used as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 during his senior year and a defensive end in the 4-3 every year prior to that. He's experience at both spots will be helpful in his projection to the pros. The Gators used his versatility to their advantage all season.
Pass Coverage ( - )
His coverage skills are minor if even there. He was able to cover short ground effectively in the zone, but his role in the flats and short zones has been minimal at most. McCray does have a couple of solid cover plays and even an interception, though he would need to be in a Terrell Suggs role to be effective in coverage.
Pass Rush ( + )
McCray can run the arc very effectively and relies on his exceptional speed off of the edge to win those battles. He also has an extremely active bull rush and can create pressure on both mobile quarterbacks and pocket passers. He creates pressure extremely quickly off of the snap and forces the tackle he faces to feel uncomfortable on the line.
Against the Run ( + )
He's very good at setting the edge against the run when asked to do so. His run blitzes are also extremely effective at creating potential disruption in the backfield. Against the option, McCray would have some trouble with over pursuit or even misreading who has the ball, but if he reads the play right, he's an excellent addition to any run defense at either end or linebacker.
Tackling ( - )
McCray can run down plays from behind and doesn't let the player gain a ton of yardage as they do so. He tries to knock the ball out more than wrap up. When he is chasing down quarterbacks from behind in the backfield, he tries to force a strip sack almost every time with his violent hand movement.
He needs to learn how to wrap the ball carriers better out of the backfield. There were multiple instances in games where his form started to lack as the game wore on. He needs to get better conditioned for play in the NFL to where his technique doesn't slip.
Use of hands ( + )
McCray easily has the best hand usage in his class, and has even thrown around guys like Luke Joeckel. He gets great leverage under opponents' pads and drives well with his legs to supplement. The way he uses his hands to quickly snap off of blocks amazing, and he also keeps excellent positioning against the run and rushing the passer.
Future Role and Scheme Versatility
His best role in the NFL would be the same kind of things that Terrell Suggs does. He would do best to drop back into coverage 75 or less snaps a game and just blitz. Ideally, McCray could also be a Charles Johnson-type defensive end who uses his speed and strength on the edge to create pressure and penetrate versus the run game.
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