Ht – 5’11” Wt – 190lb Class – SR Age – 22
Fluidity – Although McCreary plays with very good fluidity, his hip-flip and change-of-direction ability aren’t top-tier. He is plenty capable of swiveling his hips and sticking with receivers, but he doesn’t possess the fluidity of other Corners in this class.
Press – Technique isn’t great, but everything else is. He has innate toughness and physicality, and his discipline at the line of scrimmage is outstanding. However, he wasn’t tasked with dominating press reps often, and the times he was, it affected his mirroring to start the route greatly.
Ball Skills – Phenomenal. McCreary is a pass break-up master, and he consistently gets his hands into receivers’ arms. His ball tracking and locating are next-level, and he has the strength to pry balls out of even the toughest clamps.
Man Coverage – Mirroring is extraordinary. His ability to seemingly take the exact steps with the receiver is unbelievable. He sticks like glue to receivers, and his recovery ability and reactionary burst are amazing. In man coverage, McCreary is a shut-down Corner, without question.
Zone Coverage – In this regard, he has a lot to improve upon. Although he has elite field vision, many of his traits are questionable. His reactionary speed is lacking a bit, and it seems he second-guesses his decisions before breaking on the ball. He is also unfamiliar with many zone concepts, as he was mostly tasked with man coverage. This was clear at the Senior Bowl when the prospects were asked to play all sorts of styles and concepts.
Length – Easily his most alarming trait. McCreary plays with short arms, and although this didn’t hinder him from being an elite pass disruptor, he is far from ideal NFL length.
Tackling & Run Support – As mentioned, his toughness and physicality are off the charts. Consequently, he was a force in run defense. His closing speed is explosive, and he wraps up with precision. McCreary hardly misses a tackle, and he is virtually unblockable. Using his elite field vision he consistently gets to the ball carrier, and he always finishes plays.
Combine – McCreary didn’t participate much in the Combine drills, but he still had a poor Combine. It wasn’t anything we didn’t expect, so his stock didn’t take too much of a hit, but the confirmation wasn’t good for him either. Measuring in with a dreadful 70 5/8” wingspan, he had the shortest arms by nearly 2”. He also ran a very average 4.5 40.
Roger McCreary is one of my favorite prospects in this draft, even if my ranking of him doesn’t reflect that. He has the makings of a true no. 1 NFL corner and a lock-down menace for years. However, there are many impossible flaws to ignore.
For starters, his arm length is shockingly short. Although he showed success in CFB despite his arms, there are certain physical benchmarks in the NFL, and this is one of them. He will automatically face an uphill battle, due to his physical disadvantage.
Secondly, his zone coverage abilities are very raw. This doesn’t concern me as much as the first issue, as McCreary is a natural athlete. His understanding and feel for the game of football are apparent, and I expect it to be a matter of time before this issue is solved. Still, it means he can’t be a Week 1 reliable starter, which bumps his stock down a bit.
Lastly, while this isn’t a trait concern, he got TORCHED by John Metchie III in his final game vs Alabama. Oddly enough, in that same game, he completely shut down Jameson Williams (before he went down to injury). As it seemed, Metchie’s crafty route-running and double moves were too much for McCreary to handle.
Despite all those flaws, I can’t help but be excited by and enamored with McCreary’s style and potential. Aside from his shut-down man coverage abilities, and his ruthless run support, he has outstanding ball skills. Most of all, his moxy and confidence can’t be overlooked. It’s clear McCreary is the ultimate competitor, who plays every down with a thirst for perfection and domination. He has the confidence and swagger of Jalen Ramsey, with man coverage abilities on the same level.
I am truly ecstatic to see how McCreary realizes his potential at the next level.
See Roger McCreary’s overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.