By Kip Earlywine
Unofficial 40: 5.01
-Very good hand use, disengages blockers seemingly every time
-Some nice pass rush moves
-Very nice size/speed/athleticism (looks faster than Suh to me)
-Great 2009 production
-Very consistent pressure
-A year younger than Suh but put up pretty similar numbers
-Good character/work ethic
-Extremely good upside
-Penetrates the line with his head down, often is completely confused where the ball is
-Tends to lose the battle at the line for the first second before recovering
-Sometimes has leverage issues
-Inconsistent vs. run (frequently struggles to defend his gap)
-He's a 4-3 three tech, and probably nothing else.
"McCoy makes his living in the opponents' backfield, and is such a talent he could have landed [at the top few picks of the draft] last year had he declared as a redshirt sophomore."
-Mel Kiper jr.
"McCoy is an amazing prospect and simply great at what he is - a three technique. He has elite intangibles and should be a definite top-10 pick. McCoy is my No. 1 defensive tackle for the 2010 NFL Draft."
-Matt McGuire, Walter Football
This was the most eye-opening POTD for me to this point. McCoy was in some ways stunningly bad, but made up for it in other areas.
Starting with the bad, within 20 seconds of watching the footage, I noticed McCoy had a big problem with dropping his head when penetrating. Anyone who's played DL will recognize this flaw very quickly, and predictably, this bad habit got McCoy in trouble all game long against BYU. Normally, the ability to penetrate the offensive line is a good thing. It leads to sacks, pressures, TFL's, forced incompletions and turnovers. But when you penetrate with your head down with no awareness of where the ball is, the advancement up the field can actually work against you. It leaves a big hole behind you, and if you don't know where the ball is, the runner will just run right by you and enter the hole you left behind. This happened repeatedly in the BYU game (a critical game that Oklahoma lost). To put it bluntly, McCoy's awareness sucks, and if he struggles this much defending a single gap in a 4-3 one gap principles role, just imagine how much he'd struggle trying to defend two gaps simultaneously as a 3-4 end! And because McCoy isn't overly huge or have good leverage (sometimes losing ground early in the play) to boot, he'd be very unlikely to succeed as a run stuffing one tech. These are probably the reasons why everyone pegs McCoy as a pure 4-3 three technique.
Fortunately, some of those flaws should be fixable with coaching and time. McCoy is a hard worker too, so I'd give him good odds of breaking his bad habits. As long as McCoy isn't a disaster against the run, he'll more than make up for his weakness with his constant disruption in the backfield.
What I really like about McCoy is that he's kind of the anti-Suh but with similar production. Whereas Suh used brute strength to peel defenders off him, McCoy used a combination of arm-dexterity, quickness, skill, and strength to consistently shed blocks in about 1 second. It seems like most snaps, McCoy will lose the 1st second of a block, but dominate the rest of the play. I also like how McCoy has decent looking speed for a DT and has nice pursuit in the backfield. If its a passing play, most downs you can pretty much count to three and by then McCoy will usually be in the QB's face. He may not get the sack, but he'll force the QB to divert attention from downfield and move around in the pocket, often into the arms of one of McCoy's teammates. Like Suh, McCoy is a game changing player in the pass rush. Overall, I think Suh has fewer weaknesses and is more versatile, but if I had my choice between Suh and McCoy, I'd probably pick McCoy because he looks like a perfect fit for a 4-3 pass rushing tackle.
If by some chance the Lions and Bucs are insane enough to not select McCoy and he falls to #6, the Seahawks have to take him. Its nice to dream, but considering that Detroit and Tampa both run 4-3's and list DT near the top of their needs, I just can't see that happening.