NFL Draft

Roger McCreary 2022 NFL Draft Profile

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Continuing our Green Bay Packers NFL Draft profiles at Game on Wisconsin, I will be following up with another cornerback filled with potential in the 2022 NFL Draft, Roger McCreary. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of drafting Roger McCreary, and what he can bring to the table for potential NFL teams looking to add another cornerback to their roster.

 

Roger McCreary – 6’0”, 190 lbs –  CB – Auburn

Roger McCreary is coming out of college as one of the best coverage corners in the NFL Draft, not quite the best but he has so much versatility and the skillset to continue to improve upon it, that it puts him near the top. McCreary is a 4-year player and a 3-year starter who has matched up against some phenomenal SEC talent over the years. In college, he finished up with 135 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 6 interceptions, and 30 pass deflections which is one of the better stat lines for corners in the 2022 NFL Draft.

 

What I like:

  • Coverage overall

  • Ball skills

  • Fluidity/Lateral mobility

  • Tackling

McCreary’s coverage, whether it’s man, zone, or press coverage, he has shown to be able to thrive doing it all. He is strong and aggressive at the start of the route in press but he is also patient and allows wide receivers to commit before making any drastic movements and mirrors routes very well with his fluid hips. McCreary also has a background as a free safety and it translates well when he is in zone coverage and needs to read the field and react accordingly.

McCreary’s has shown very good ball skills throughout his college career, and it largely stems from how hard it is for wide receivers to get separation from him in coverage. He can track deep balls very well and plays with aggression when the ball is coming into the receivers hands.

McCreary isn’t the most athletic corner by any means but he is smooth with everything he does. He has fluid hips that allow him to mirror routes and stay tight in coverage no matter the receiver. He also can go from sideline to sideline and get to where the ball is quickly and efficiently. This burst makes up for a lack of speed and it also allows him to have the versatility to play pretty much any secondary position if needed.

Tackling is one aspect of the game that a lot of corners have issues with but not McCreary. He is always close to his man so he rarely gives up extra and unnecessary yards. He also has the aggressiveness and experience as a safety to where he is not afraid to hit anyone on the field. Another aspect that helps him out is that he is smart and patient when needed as he addresses a ball carrier and it limits some missed tackles from over aggressiveness.

 

What I haven’t seen yet:

  • Elite athleticism

  • Change of direction

Athleticism is one thing that is hard to change when considering a prospect in the NFL Draft, and this is also why so many people have McCreary having a career as a slot corner in the NFL. He has functional athleticism but it is not on the level to where he can hang with top of the line athletes on deep balls. I still believe his best route will to play both outside and inside and gain experience doing both so he can be on the field no matter the situation, and even shadow wide receivers if he progresses in his game and gets to the level where coaches trust him to do so.

The only other main cause for concern for McCreary is his ability to change direction on a dime and it is really hit or miss. He has the fluidity to make it happen but there are times where he will lose a couple of steps rounding off a route or having heavy ankles at times on sharp cuts.

 

Overview:

Overall, McCreary seems to be in the top consensus top 5 for cornerbacks for the 2022 NFL Draft and he seems to be neck and neck with Trent McDuffie on who will go before who at the end of the 1st round. McCreary is a smart football player who does all of the big things correctly from coverage to tackling, he just needs to sharpen up on his cuts and if there was a way to get more athletic then that would be phenomenal but that doesn’t seem to happen often. There is a lot of belief that he will move inside and be a slot corner and he very well could be but there doesn’t seem to be any major holdbacks on him having a successful career as an outside corner while also staying versatile.

 

Role: Inside or outside corner

Grade: Late 1st round pick

NFL Comp: Cameron Dantzler

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