College Talent Scout

Analyzing and Scouting the Best of the NCAA

LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh

Name: LeSean McCoy
Position: RB
5105 E
204 V
40 Time:
4.44 V

Athleticism: 6.5
McCoy is a very good athlete who hides his athleticism well. In particular, he doesn’t always show his quickness when running the football, but when he gets into the open field or when he has to outrun a defender to a spot, he can turn up the speed. McCoy has excellent balance that allows him to escape would-be tackles and turn 3 yard gains into longer runs. He has excellent change of direction ability that allows him to make great cuts and he runs with good pad level.
Quickness: 6.5
Balance: 6.5
Fluidity: 7.0

Physical Talents: 6.0
McCoy has decent physical talents because of his very good acceleration, but his lack of size and only adequate strength are legitimate problems. He has been an excellent inside runner for Pittsburgh, but his ability to break arm tackles might not translate to the NFL. For a back his size, he has good functional strength but in order to maximize his talent as an inside runner he will need to improve in this area.
Body Type: 5.5
Strength: 5.5
Explosion: 6.5

Polish: 6.0
McCoy has a decent understanding of the playbook (though he did have a couple of miscues, it was in a pro-style offense that showed a lot of looks) and has a firm grasp of running technique (pad level, body lean, turning the corner). He does have a tendency to make one or two ill-advised bounces outside a game, but normally shows excellent instincts waiting for and locating the hole. He has improved on his tendency to bounce runs outside and his ball-security issues but needs to continue to improve here.
Understands Playbook: 6.0
Proper Technique: 6.0
Instincts: 7.0

Competitiveness: 6.5
McCoy is a competitive player who does a few things that you really like. His freshman year, McCoy had problems consistently running for 5 yards (tried to hit a homerun all the time) but was much improved as a sophomore here and was more consistent than his offensive line. He shows the leg drive to fight for the first down and displays good effort while running (poor effort as a blocker lowers his grade from 7.0 to 6.5). In the clutch McCoy is a guy who you want to give the ball to, as he seems to play well with pressure on the line (WVU game, 3rd/4th and short).
Toughness: 6.5
Consistency: 6.5
Clutch Play: 7.0
Effort: 6.5

Football Character: 6.5 In general gets high marks – still learning to be a complete back but has a good reputation.
Personal Character: 6.0
I just don’t expect to see any problems from McCoy. He went from one of the top recruits in the nation his junior year to almost losing his career after a nasty ankle injury and academic issues, spent a year in prep school, then burst onto the scene again at Pitt. He still has some growing up to do, but when all is said an done I don’t think he will be much of a problem.
Durability: 6.0
Ankle injury in high school is several years old, but with his frame you would be a little concerned about his durability. Overall, not a guy you expect to have problems.

Run Instincts: 7.0
Has a good feel for rushing lanes and who will be open.
Tackle-Breaking: 5.5
He did this well enough in college, but will need to add weight to do this in the pros.
Cutback Ability: 6.5
McCoy is deadly making cuts, sometimes tries to go against the grain when he shouldn’t, but also gets some nice gains when he does so.
Inside Running: 6.5
Best on runs between the tackles or just outside the tackles. Vision, patience, and cutback ability allow him to shine here despite a mediocre OL. If he adds weight, he could be even better.
Outside Running: 6.0
McCoy has the speed needed to run outside a lot, but seems to do his best work inside.
Receiving Skills: 6.0
McCoy is a reliable receiver, though rarely runs more than 5 yards past the LOS in his routes. About what you’d expect from a good starting back.
Run After Catch: 6.0
McCoy could be even better if he ran more decisively after the catch, but has the raw physical tools needed to be deadly in space. I’d love to see him on screen passes.
Open-Field: 6.5
McCoy has the loose hips, plus speed, toughness, and a spin move to make him tough to bring down in the open field.
Pass Blocker: 5.0
Terrible. An okay cut-blocker but unenthused when asked to pick up the blitz. Needs a lot of improvement here.
Fumble/Errors: 5.5
McCoy is improving here, but still has work to do. Doesn’t make a ton of mental errors, but more than you’d love to see. When it comes to ball security, he exposes the ball too much and doesn’t always transfer it between arms well. I think he can improve this.

Summary: Due to a certain Youtube video, some people are under the impression that McCoy doesn’t run inside much. That is simply not true, as McCoy runs inside more often than outside by a significant margin. He’s actually pretty good running inside because of his burst, vision, and leg drive. McCoy definitely has some areas for improvement, however, as he needs to work on his blocking, continue to improve ball security, cut down on mental errors, and add weight. The potential to be a very good ball carrier is there, but McCoy probably needs a year before he is ready for a starting role and even then I question his ability to be a 3 down back. Some offenses release their backs on routes more, while others have them block. Under Holmgren, Seattle sent their back out on routes frequently, but it is unlikely Knapp will retain that philosophy so McCoy’s blocking problems could be amplified. I probably wouldn’t take McCoy 37th for Seattle, but I think some team would be justified doing so and I think McCoy would be worth a pick around 50-60 for Seattle.

Final Grade: 6.1

Note: There is a possibility that I will watch more Pitt games in the future, and for that reason I reserve the right to change this grade up until the 2009 NFL Draft.

Games Scouted: USF, WVU, ND, OSU


March 25, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Ya, that’s me, guilty of the highlight video assessment.

    But, you do acknowledge that McCoy did have a habit (that’s largely corrected) of bouncing way too many runs outside.

    I like your assessment though. You do a good job of supporting why McCoy’s value is probably lower to us than for a lot of teams.

    Unfortunately for James Davis, he didn’t come out last year. It looks like he’ll fall into the middle round after the season he and Clemson had (he wasn’t bad, but his thunder was stolen by Spiller).

    Do you have an opinion of him? It seems as though he could be a good value.

    Comment by nano | March 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. It’s not just you with the highlight video assessment. I hate highlight videos, so this just served as a good example. And he doesn’t bounce that many runs outside he shouldn’t – I mean, Shaun Alexander did as well to be honest (especially til 2005) and it wasn’t a huge problem. Because I go back and review each cut made, I kind of get critical of a back’s vision – nobody is perfect.

    I’m actually scouting Davis (and Kelly, Clemons, and Hamlin). Just finished up game 2, will probably do four because safeties are annoying, but I could almost write the Davis report right now. He’s what I call a typical back – he has enough burst and quickness to run plays (better suited inside but is faster than given credit for), can block, can catch, has good vision, and some power. He’s utterly unexciting though, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s not that his runs are boring, just nothing unique about them.

    Put him in front of a good OL, he’ll run for 1200+ yards and a dozen TDs and do alright in the passing game. Nothing that Tashard Choice couldn’t do (in fact, they seem eerily similar), but there’s value in that kind of back. Combined with Davis’ good durability and character report, and absolutely I’d be for taking him. The 4th is the earliest I’d do it, and there might be guys I am more interested in, but you know you’re getting a solid guy with Davis.

    Comment by rotak | March 29, 2009 | Reply

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