Much has already been speculated about what the Cardinals are planning to do with their second pick in the draft, either at #33 or in the later part of the first round (if they add a pick there via trade). One name that keeps popping up is Texas A&M’s C Erik McCoy.
McCoy has been crushing the post-season draft process in pretty much every aspect. He had a very good week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and his numbers and drill performances at the NFL Combine were impressive. A 3 year starter at A&M, at 6-4, 303, he ran a 4.89 40 and put up 29 reps at 225. His 8.28 time in the 3 cone was slower than Garrett Bradbury’s (7.41), but other than that, their testing numbers were pretty much on a par. Bradbury ran a 4.92 40 and put up 34 reps.
What excites one the most about McCoy is how well he fared against the Clemson defensive linemen, mammoth DT Dexter Lawrence in particular, and versus Alabama’s prize All-American DT Quinnen Williams. Here is what NFL.com and NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote about McCoy:
”Teams typically hunt for centers with the traits to withstand power or athleticism depending on their divisional competition. McCoy comes gift-wrapped in a thick, strong frame and proved he could hold up to both power (Dexter Lawrence) and athleticism (Quinnen Williams). He has some limitations in space, but he possesses more than enough body control and agility to compete on work-ups and cut-off blocks. With his ability match against base and sub-packages, McCoy could carry Day 2 draft value as a future starter.”
Here is a good look at McCoy’s game versus Clemson (#64):
What pops out on this tape are three key plusses: (1) his shotgun snaps are consistently crisp and on the money (something that Mason Cole has struggled with, as Seth Cox aptly pointed out recently); (2) his brute strength at the point of attack and ability to seal off run blocks; (3) in pass protection he consistently keeps the middle of the pocket clean.
McCoy has been moving up draft boards in recent weeks...it’s quite possible that the Rams at #31, having recently moved on from veteran John Sullivan, could take Garrett Bradbury or Erik McCoy at #31. But, if Bradbury or McCoy is on the board at #33, it’s quite possible that the Cardinals will select one of them right there.
In this short video, McCoy discusses his thoughts about how he has been faring in the draft process and about what teams are most actively pursuing him. He mentions that he has an upcoming visit scheduled with the Cardinals.
If the Cardinals draft a center early on in the draft, one must wonder what that means for the Cardinals’ 2018 3rd round comp pick, Mason Cole. While Cole may not be exactly what the Cardinals under Kliff Kingsbury and Sean Kugler are looking for at center, Kugler is very high on Cole’s versatility. If you recall, Cole played LT his senior year at Michigan in the same line with Kugler’s son, Patrick. Cole’s play versus in Nick Bosa in 2017 was very solid. Moreover, Cole can play guard and right tackle. So, he should actor heavily into the mix across the board.
Strengthening the middle of the Cardinals’ offensive line has been one of the team’s top priorities this off-season as evidenced by the signings of guards J.R. Sweezy and Max Garcia. The Cardinals also remain very high on 2nd year G Colby Gossett, who played well most of the time last season, that is until he struggled (as expected) with Aaron Donald. Thus adding strength at center might be next on the list.
What the Cardinals may be sacrificing by taking a center at #33 is being able to select one of the top WRs on their board (Marquise Brown, Kareem Butler, N’Keal Harry, A.J. Brown, Andy Isabella, Parris Campbell, etc.)---this is why it would help if the Cardinals could add another top 50 pick via a trade.