Taking a closer look: Gerald McCoy

How good can Gerald McCoy be this season?
How good can Gerald McCoy be this season? /

“With the 3rd pick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Gerald McCoy,” were the words Roger Goodell said as the future of the Buccaneers walked across the stage at Radio City Music.  McCoy was the Bucs first round pick this year and the hopes of the entire organization are on his shoulders as he enters a situation that is bad at best.  The 6’4″, 295 lb. junior out of the University of Oklahoma is considered one of the most elite pass rushing defensive tackles to come out of college in years.  Some scouts placed in front of Suh (Nebraska) as the most elite defensive tackle in the draft.

McCoy dominated the Big-12 Conference, more than numbers he put up show.  He finished the season with a career best 34 tackles, 20 of these tackles either stopping the runner behind the line or at the line of scrimmage.  He also had 6.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, both career highs for McCoy.  McCoy was one of the most consistent players in the nation for the Sooners who had a down year with the loss of Bradford.  Yet McCoy did not give up on the year, making 40 career starts for the Sooners, showing his dominance and consistency every week on the field.

McCoy is very versatile, maybe even more than Suh.  McCoy played the 3 technique (probably the same position he will be asked to play for the Bucs), dominating inside on offensive linemen with powerful hands and long arms.  McCoy is patient inside and has a good jump off the line.  He is solid in the run game as well and can even run down a running back in open field, showing how athletic he is.  He has decent speed coming off the corner, but always plays smart, never being pulled out of position and always near the ball.  He has a high motor, never taking a play off and a higher character, making him an ideal citizen as well as a football player.

McCoy joins fellow rookie Brian Price as the new look defensive front.  Along with Roy Miller, the Bucs are talented up front and look to change the fortunes of the Bucs defense.  McCoy will be asked to play the 3 technique, which he did in college, but could see some time on the end, he has the ability to play on all positions on the defensive line.  McCoy will be asked to perform, as well a first round pick should but it is not fair to put the pressure of the world on McCoy’s shoulders.  He can only do so much, he will help the defensive front, but he can’t stop wide receivers or catch balls, so while he will be watched closely, he is not superman.  What Buc fans should hope for though is that he pushes his team and hopefully they will not have a top 5 draft pick again next season.

So we have come to the end of the Bucs 2010 draft class.  Overall, the Bucs had a great draft class, filling need positions, bringing in play makers, and bringing some new life to a bad team.  Many players will shine this season, others will take some time.  But most importantly, all of them are the future of the franchise and it will be exciting to watch all of them become future Buc greats.