Mississippi State Senior
Has a nice first step with enough speed to challenge the corner. Has good straight-line burst and coupled with his first step, shows potential as a bull-rusher off the corner. Will also use a rip move and a spin move at times. Can get upfield and make stops in the backfield. Has closing burst to finish play and make the sack. Is able to set the edge against the tight end when playing the run. Gives chase downfield and shows decent speed and motor there. Comfortable playing from a two-point stance with his hand off the ground, and comfortable moving in space and dropping off into coverage.
Lacks the explosiveness and upfield burst to consistently challenge the edge against NFL-caliber left tackles. Tends to rely on his speed and struggles to disengage from blockers as a pass rusher. Less effective when you line up him up inside and force him to use his hands and technique, which he lacks. Gets redirected too easily inside vs. the run, and can engulfed at the point of attack, especailly when facing double teams. Loses outside gap responsibility, trying to shoot upfield to make stop in the backfield. Lacks speed and range to cover a lot of ground when he plays with his hand off the ground.
McPhee has tools to develop, but at this point there is no sure-fire position for him. He can play with his hand off the ground, but lacks the speed and suddeness you want in a 3-4 OLB prospect. He could play there, but he'd be rather average. He is probably a better fit playing defensive end, but despite his size, he's not really a force against the run, and plays more like a rush end, except he doesn't have the burst and speed to beat most starting caliber left tackles at the next level. Which means he's probably a rotational player from the left end spot that will need to make significant improvements in terms of his technique to carve out a major role at the next level. A JUCO transfer that combined for 33 sacks in his two years Itawamba Community College before transferring to Mississippi State. Emerged as a junior starter with 56 tackles, 12 for loss, and 5 sacks. Had a disappointing senior campaign, finishing with 35 tackles, 10 for loss, and 2 sacks.
McPhee can definitely contribute in an NFL rotation. He'll probably fit best as a right end where he can spell a starter for 25 or so snaps per game. He does have starting potential, but he'll need time to develop and is going to have make significant upgrades to his technique. If that technique improves, it's possible he could be a starter that gives you around 5-6 sacks per season. But he's not going to be a dynamic pass rusher, and probably will only be that productive if he's playing opposite someone that is a premier guy. He can potentially play on either side of the line, but despite his size, he's not very good or disciplined against the run to be trusted to play on the left side, at least not as an everydown player. More than likely, McPhee develops into a nice situational rusher that gives you 2-4 sacks a year. He has the potential to be more than that, but it's probably going to take serious coaching and the better part of three or four years before he can reach that potential. If he continues to bulk up, there is a chance he can develop into a decent 3-4 defensive end, but he probably has less upside in that scheme, since he's not a natural stacker and shedder like that scheme prefers. More than likely, to be functional rotation guy in that scheme, you'd want him to add another 15-20 pounds. In that scheme, you can envision him as a solid rotational guy similar to Stephen Bowen, with the Cowboys, but probably overmatched as a starter. As a 4-3 end, he probably compares best to someone like Turk McBride, who has similar size and athleticism, although McBride was more at home playing inside during his college career.
McPhee could help the Falcons rotation behind Abraham at right defensive end, as well as steal some reps on the left side as well. He is an upgrade as a pass rusher over someone like Davis, but would need to make significant improvements vs. the run to earn immediate minutes. His potential could net him the 4th spot in the rotation, but he would not be a good candidate to replace Abraham potentially as a starter in his second year. The Falcons probably wouldn't get significant contributions from him until his second or third year in the league, and even then it's likely only to come as a rotational and situational guy. He has the potential to develop as a starter down the road, but more than likely he'd be a career backup in Atlanta, although he could be a good one eventually.
McPhee offers nice mid-round value that with his long-term potential as a starter could get looks in the fourth round, although ideally you'd probably wait until the fifth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Rush: 3.0
Point Of Attack: 2.0
Scouting reports of the defensive ends in the 2011 Draft.
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