Updated Dec. 22, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
There have been some draft pundits who projected Ohio State junior inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan to be a first-round pick, and a potentially high first-rounder entering the 2016 season. McMillan played well in 2015, totaling 119 tackles with 1.5 sacks and four passes broken up on the year, so some hype was understandable. However, McMillan hasn't been as impressive as a junior, and sources from multiple teams say they have given McMillan a third-round grade.
Sources question McMillan's pass-coverage ability for the NFL, as he has not impressed evaluators in defending the pass. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder is a quality run defender, but his limitations in pass coverage have many teams projecting him as coming off the field in nickel situations. NFL defenses are now operating out of the nickel around 70 percent of their snaps, so that is a huge chunk of playing time that McMillan is projected to be on the sideline. As a result, sources from multiple teams say they could see McMillan going off the board in the middle of the draft. One team thought he could go in the second, but they had a third-round grade on McMillan. One playoff team said they had a third- or fourth-round grade on him.
As a junior, McMillan has 87 tackles, five for a loss, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles entering his college football playoff game against Clemson. McMillan will see a nice test to his coverage skills with Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett, and of course, dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson, so he will have an opportunity to improve his draft evaluation in the Fiesta Bowl. If the year doesn't end well for him, it could be in his best interest to return for his senior season and improve his pass coverage skills before entering the pros.