Former University of Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy is trying to become anot..."/>  

  Former University of Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy is trying to become anot..."/>

Scouting Report: Miami Outside Linebacker Colin McCarthy


Former University of Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy is trying to become another successful linebacker in a long line of former Hurricane greats that had success in the NFL, a line that includes players such as the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, Panthers’ Jon Beason, and Saints’ Jonathan Vilma. Many believe McCarthy could either play inside or outside linebacker for a team in the NFL, playing outside during his four year career as a starter at Miami. His 2010 senior season was the best of the bunch, as he recorded unofficially 120 tackles with two sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception. He was named second-team All-ACC after his junior season in 2009. I could see him compete for a starting position after a couple years in the pros and could impress coaches with his play on special teams during his rookie season. Here is a closer look at McCarthy, including his strengths and weaknesses.



McCarthy is very good at recognizing run or pass, an important skill to have for a linebacker. He is able to diagnose the run and make the play near the hole and also is good at making sure he picks up his assigned receiver in the flats against the pass. His recognition and acceleration to the line of scrimmage are a big strength. While most guys can be quick but overrun the play, McCarthy is good at flying to the football and breaking down to make the play on the running back.

Pursuit to the Ball

One of the things I noticed while watching McCarthy on game tape was his non-stop motor and pursuit to the football. There were times when I thought he was out of the play due to a run or pass to the opposite side of the field of him and would end up making the play. He takes very good angles to the sideline and does not stop until the whistle is blown. Skills like this show you what kind of discipline a player like McCarthy has.

Shedding Blocks

Shedding blocks is something I have seen many linebacker prospects have problems with on film. Many do not utilize their hands well enough to get off blockers who get inside of their pads. This is something McCarthy excels at. He is able to take on lead blockers, shed the block and make the play on the ball carrier in the hole. This is one reason many look at him as a versatile linebacker who can also play inside. Middle linebackers need to be able to get off blocks and make the play to avoid letting the running back get into the second level of the defense.


Tackling in the Open Field

This is probably McCarthy’s biggest weakness as he sometimes misses making the play on his assignment in space. This was most evident in pass coverage when he whiffed on some tackles out in the flats. There were also times when mobile quarterbacks would run draws to his side and he would not be agile enough to make the play. McCarthy must get quicker with his feet in order to make plays in the open field and become a better all-around outside linebacker.

Man Coverage

While McCarthy is a player who never gets confused and misses he assignment, often times he struggles in man coverage against the pass on tight ends and running backs. He struggles when covering tight ends down the seam, letting them get behind him. This could especially be a negative to teams who look at him that run cover 2 schemes in which linebackers are given more responsibility in pass coverage.

Awareness Against the Pass

As you can probably tell, I am more worried about McCarthy’s pass coverage skills than I am with him playing the run. He lacks some awareness when covering quicker running backs out in the flats and in the middle of the field. At times it looks like he gets too concerned with where the ball is that he lets his assignment in man coverage get behind him. I would like to see him be more disciplined in staying with his assignment and turning his hips more fluidly when turning and running in the middle of the field against the pass.

Projected Round: Late 3rd

NFL Comparison: Zac Diles, Houston Texans