2021 NFL Draft: Michigan LB Cameron McGrone has round one upside

Cameron McGrone, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cameron McGrone, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Michigan linebacker Cameron McGrone could be a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Micah Parsons is going to be the first linebacker off of the board in the 2021 NFL Draft class. In fact, he is probably the favorite to be the first defensive player selected next April. Parsons is great, but he is not going to be the only strong linebacker worth keeping an eye on in the 2021 NFL Draft class. There are plenty of talented players at the position with Michigan’s Cameron McGrone standing out as one of the most interesting prospects.

McGrone and the Wolverines will not play be playing football this fall, as the Big Ten Conference has pushed back their season due to COVID-19 concerns. If McGrone does in fact declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, he is extremely unlikely to play another down of college football. Even with that being the case, I am confident in saying that McGrone has shown enough to be a possible first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In his first season as a major defensive contributor, McGrone quickly became a star of the Michigan defense. He took over as a full-time starter for the team over the last 10 games in 2019 and finished the year with 65 total tackles (nine for loss) and 2.5 sacks. Those numbers may not particularly stand out, but when you turn on the tape, it is easy to be impressed by McGrone.

Tremendous physical skill-set

When watching McGrone, his athleticism at the linebacker position immediately stands out. This guy is quick and explosive with his movements and shows tremendous range on the field. McGrone is a legitimate sideline-to-sideline defender who covers a ton of ground as both a run defender and in pass coverage.

McGrone is not the most experienced linebacker prospect and his inexperience does show up at times in coverage. However, he shows good instincts in zone coverage and has the physical skills to shine in man coverage once he gets more reps.

Athletically, McGrone shines in all aspects of linebacker play, but do not sleep on his ability to mix it up on the inside physically. He is an impact player at the point of attack who shows impressive natural block-shed ability. McGrone is a physical and slippery linebacker prospect who has fantastic upside in all aspects of linebacker play.

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Simply put, McGrone has the kind of athletic upside that NFL scouts are going to fall in love with. In today’s NFL, speed and athleticism stand out as the most important aspect of play at most positions. The age of traditional bulky linebackers is over and guys like McGrone are all the rage. Once scouts check out his tape, he could easily be a first-round selection next April.