2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Raekwon McMillan

  • Raekwon McMillan, 6-2/240

  • Linebacker

  • Ohio State

  • Raekwon McMillan Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Tough run defender
  • Good tackler
  • Physical in the tackle box
  • Enough speed to get to the perimeter
  • Good skill set
  • Diagnosis skills
  • Flashes ability to shed blocks
  • Decent instincts
  • Follows quarterbacks’ eyes in short zone coverage
  • Good skill set
  • Above-average height and length for a linebacker
  • Has the necessary size and speed
  • Fits a 4-3 or 3-4 defense
  • Upside
  • Experienced

  • Weaknesses:
  • Not natural in pass coverage
  • Wasn’t impressive covering down the seam
  • Will need development to be a three-down defender
  • Not sudden
  • Not a game changer
  • Lacks instant acceleration
  • Lacks twitch, change-of-direction skills

  • Summary: While the NFL has become a passing-driven league, there are still plenty of teams that need a tough interior presence in the tackle box. Linebackers who can defend against the run are still a requirement for any good defense, and there are teams that have issues stopping the ground game. For those teams, McMillan is a linebacker who could help them.

    McMillan played as a freshman in 2014, totaling 54 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a pick-six. He improved in 2015, notching 119 tackles with 1.5 sacks and four passes broken up on the year. McMillan played well for Ohio State in 2016 with 102 tackles, five for a loss, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles. Despite his production, he probably should have returned for his senior year to improve his pass-coverage skills, but he decided to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

    As a run defender, McMillan is very good. He is quick to read his keys and has the instincts that put him in position to make tackles. His tackle totals were no accident. McMillan has the size and strength to operate in the tackle box while also possessing enough quickness to defend the perimeter. Even though McMillan does a nice job of taking on blocks, he could stand to improve at shedding blocks.

    Team sources say they were underwhelmed with McMillan’s pass coverage in 2016. They feel the junior didn’t show real improvement over his sophomore year. McMillan has quickness, size and athleticism, but he didn’t show the skill to run down the seam. He is okay playing zone in the middle of the field, but isn’t a linebacker who really shows good coverage skills. Playing in shallow zone coverage, McMillan follows the quarterback’s eyes and disrupts passing lanes. He will need a lot of work to develop the skills to contribute in man coverage on tight ends and running backs.

    Sources from multiple teams say they could see McMillan going off the board in the middle of the 2017 NFL Draft. One team thought he could go in Round 2, but they had a third-round grade on McMillan. One playoff team said they had a third- to fourth-round grade on him. After performing well at the combine, McMillan should be safe on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

    McMillan could play inside linebacker in a 3-4 or middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense. He also would fit as a Sam (strongside) linebacker in a 4-3, too. McMillan could develop into a three-down starter if he improves in pass coverage, but in his first season, he will probably be mainly a situational run defender. After some growth, McMillan has the athletic ability to be a three-down starter in the NFL.

    Player Comparison: Kevin Minter. Minter was a good run defender in college who never developed pass-coverage skills for the NFL. Thus, he was a disappointment as a second-round pick for the Cardinals. Minter is solid as a run defender, and McMillan could end up being very similar as a pro.

    NFL Matches: Miami, Detroit, New York Giants, Houston, Indianapolis, Oakland, Denver, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Arizona

    There are a lot of teams that could consider taking McMillan on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. Miami had a big need at linebacker entering the offseason, and even after free agency, the team could consider McMillan on the second day. The Lions could use more linebacker talent, too. McMillan would be a nice fit for them in the third round.

    The Raiders have a huge need at middle linebacker as the interior of their defense was shredded last year. McMillan would be an instant upgrade to Oakland’s run defense. Staying in the AFC West, Denver could use a linebacker upgrade after losing Danny Trevathan a year ago. Kansas City also could consider McMillan as an understudy to Derrick Johnson.

    The Texans need a linebacker upgrade next to Benardrick McKinney as Brian Cushing has become a liability on the field. However, Houston needs more of a run-and-chase linebacker as McMillan is more of a poor man’s McKinney. The rival Colts need a linebacker upgrade, and McMillan would be a great pick for them in the second round.

    The Bengals could use more linebacker talent for the 2018 season. Kevin Minter was signed to a 1-year contract, while Vontaze Burfict is also a free agent next offseason, too. Cincinnati has shown interest in McMillan with a pre-draft visit, and he could be a fit for the organization in Round 3. The Ravens have hosted McMillan as well and could use a linebacker to pair with C.J. Mosley. Pittsburgh lost Lawrence Timmons in free agency, so the organization could consider McMillan to pair with Ryan Shazier.

    New England has shown interest in McMillan, and he could be a candidate for the Patriots in the third round.

    The 49ers could use an inside linebacker upgrade, and McMillan could be in play for them at the top of Day 2. Staying in the NFC West, Arizona needs an inside linebacker upgrade after moving on from Kevin Minter.


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