Gerald McRath, OLB, Southern Miss

Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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Gerald McRath, OLB, Southern Miss

Postby Pudge » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:36 am

Gerald McRath
6-2/228 Southern Miss
4.61 Junior

Pros: Has good speed and burst to the ball. Is fluid in space and can make plays in pursuit. Is a nice tackler with some pop and does a nice job in the open field. Good on short zones, and has the speed and quickness to match up in man coverage. Does a nice job attacking the line of scrimmage and has potential as a blitzer.

Cons: Struggles at the point of attack when you run at him. Goes backwards when he's facing a fullback, tight end, or linemen and doesn't shed blocks well. Lacks elite sideline speed and not a true thumper as a tackler.

Overview: He has a tall, thin frame and looks more like a swollen wideout like David Boston than an NFL linebacker. So he'll probably need to bulk up. He has good athleticism, speed, and quickness, but is weak at the point of attack.

NFL Forecast: McRath is essentially soft when you run right at him and because of this I can't see him sticking at middle linebacker in the pros. Instead, he'll have to move to outside linebacker, particularly weakside in the 4-3. He'll need to bulk up some and add some strength. He has potential to develop as an outside guy in a Tampa-2 scheme, but should be able to play in most other 4-3 schemes. He'll need some development, and probably should spend a year or two on the bench adding strength and polishing up his skills in coverage. He could be a good player, but it'll depend on the scheme and surrounding if he can be a force. Although he shares the same alma mater of Michael Boley, he's much closer in playing style to Demorrio Williams.

ATL Forecast: McRath would be a nice developmental prospect for the Falcons at outside linebacker. He can sit the bench for a year or two and polish up his skills. The main thing is getting him to be more aggressive at the point of attack and stop playing so soft. If he does this, he'll be a solid starter for the Falcons. Won't be a great starter, but should be a productive player that is somewhere closer to Boley on the spectrum. But could also easily wash out as a starter just like Demorrio Williams despite his athletic gifts if he doesn't improve.

Value: He has solid potential but is only a Day 2 pick. Wouldn't be a reach late in the third if a team likes his upside, particularly for a Tampa-2 team. But most teams are better off waiting until the fourth round.
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