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2021 NFL Draft Profile: What Michigan LB Cam McGrone brings to New England

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A tale of two seasons define McGrone’s evaluation.

Notre Dame v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Michigan linebacker Cam McGrone had a notable 2019 campaign, and the expectations were high heading into the 2020 season. In ‘19, McGrone had 9 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 65 total tackles, but he struggled at times last season before his injury. From a film evaluation standpoint, there’s a lot to love from McGrone’s film in 2019, but if one was to look at his 2020 output solely, they may have a negative view of McGrone.

Even with some weaknesses and being part of one of Michigan’s worst defenses in recent memory, there are things to like about McGrone’s game and there is the potential he grows into an explosive NFL linebacker.

Info

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 234

School: Michigan

Position: Inside Linebacker

Projected: Late 3rd-5th

Pro Day Results

  • Bench Press (225 pounds): 20

McGrone did not participate in other drills that utilized his legs, as he’s still recovering from a torn ACL.

Strengths

  • Can find a crease and get into the opponents' backfield.
  • Could be an asset in a blitz-heavy and creative scheme.
  • The speed and tackling ability is there, but very raw.
  • Not a big ego, would be willing to learn from veteran linebackers.
  • Great 2019 film. Showed tons of hustle, heart, speed, and tackling ability.

Weaknesses

  • Tore his left and right ACL in college, coming off an ACL tear in November 2020. Injury concerns will have some teams shying away solely because of that.
  • Got thrown around by some of the best tight ends and offensive linemen in the Big Ten.
  • Some film in 2020 where he is caught flat-footed too often and tentative.
  • The quick acceleration of 2019 and fast lateral quickness were not seen as frequently last season.
  • Part of a unit that did not communicate well on the field, leading to breakdowns in the scheme.
  • Not a slow player by any means but struggled in coverage.
  • I mentioned he was caught tentative at times, but he also over-pursued here and there, not maintaining his gap assignment.

Overview

McGrone should best be viewed as a developmental prospect with a mid-round grade. Ideally, McGrone will land in a situation where they’re willing to get creative with him in a blitz-friendly scheme. McGrone has a ways to go as a coverage linebacker, and it’s going to take time for him to consistently win one-on-one against stout linemen in the NFL. Where McGrone excels is when he’s able to be aggressive and get in a zone where he can fly. A landing spot such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, a zone-blitz-centric D with former Michigan LB Devin Bush would be a great place for McGrone.

The so-so 2020 film and McGrone’s injury history will likely have him slipping in the draft. Heading into the season I would have ranked him late second round to early third, but things change, evaluations change. Former Michigan receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones fell all the way to the sixth round and the Cleveland Browns last year, which wound up being a great value pick. Don’t be surprised if the same thing happens here and McGrone comes off the board in round five.

Whether McGrone is drafted in round three or round five, a team will be getting a player who’s just 20 years old and has time to develop. The question is how long can McGrone stick around? Because he’s going to need some patience to reward his new club.