Saturday, June 8, 2013

Recruit Breakdown: Raekwon McMillan

Ceiling: 9               Ranking: 7.75               Floor: 3.75


School: Parkway (Bossier City, LA)

Size: 6'2" - 235 lbs.

Composite: 5 Star, #1 ILB, #14 Overall

247: 5 Star, 98, #1 ILB, #13 Overall

Rivals: 5 Star, 6.1, #1 ILB, #17 Overall

Scout: 4 Star, #5 ILB, #41 Overall

Favorites: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio St (assumed favorite), USC
Other Notable Offers: Auburn, Florida, FSU, Georgia, Indiana, Miami, Michigan St, Nebraska, ND, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Wisconsin

Strengths

  • Size
  • Hits extremely hard
  • Very aggressive down hill player/ Blitz ability
  • Great athlete in pursuit

Great instincts at the MIKE position. Reads plays extremely quickly, gets downhill with a lot of speed, and slices through the line well. Hits hard, accelerating through contact and finishing players backwards. Continues to drive feet and legs after contact, ball carriers don't finish falling forward. Quick first step makes him adept at blitzing through any gap, A-D, and makes it difficult for O-linemen to beat him to a stop. Gets good shoulder dip coming off the edge, gets inside shoulder low and scrapes down the line. Good speed for a LB to track down from behind. Awareness to wrap and strip ball with hands. Good pursuit player, can cut behind blockers and make plays on outside runs. College ready size, enough height to see play from the ILB position.

Weaknesses

  • Gets sucked out of position/ False Steps
  • Tackles High
  • Pass coverage

Often tackles too high, his aiming point appears to be around the chest. Very aggressive, but his aggressiveness causes him to take far too many false steps; gets too downhill on any counter action and loses leverage; he gets away with it at the high school level as he is a supreme athlete, but at the college level will force him to the wrong position and be easily blocked. Will need to work on his lateral movement, both in terms of scrapping over the top (he almost always cuts behind blockers and is able to track from behind at the HS level) as well as sidestepping blockers. Blockers getting into his body are often able to get leverage and at least initially get a bit of a push on him, his strength stalemates them, but at the next level he won't be able to do that. Does shed a little bit with hands, so he's at least aware of it, but it's more of a "get the hell out of my way" shed then any actual technique. Needs to get more comfortable flipping hips and playing in zone coverages, like most HS LBs, his pass coverage technique is "he's a great athlete."



Comments
Everything Chris Spielman would like in an ILB, because he "sees ball, hits ball"... hard, really hard. He's an extremely aggressive player that simply blows up ball carriers. He wraps and can attack the ball to cause fumbles from players that don't protect the football. First step is extremely quick, and it's nearly impossible for HS linemen to get to him because of his first step quickness and speed to the ball. Physically, he's college ready, though he'll probably add around 10 lbs at the next level, he could play immediately. His speed and size combo make him a physical presence at the HS level. He is able to attack downhill and slice through the line between the tackles, and slide behind blockers and track down ball carriers from behind on outside runs. He has potential through the roof athletically, and has the size to match.

That being said, he's far from a finished product. While he's a very downhill player, that comes with both positive aspects and negative aspects. In plays where the offense tips their hand or has no misdirection, or on blitz calls, McMillan can get to and through the line in a hurry. But on misdirection he often attacks a bit out of control, taking four or five false steps before reacting to the misdirection. Counters, screens, play action, etc could all cause him problems if he continues to be over aggressive. He will need to improve his lateral movements. While I think he can track from sideline-to-sideline because of his speed, he doesn't yet show the ability to scrape over the top or to sidestep blockers. This leads to the fact that I think he needs to change his aiming points, both in terms of pursuit angles, and tackling level. He won't as easily be able to slice behind the linemen and track down college running backs. He still will be able to, no doubt, he is that good of an athlete, but at times in his HS tapes he gets far too deep downhill and behind the play that he wouldn't be able to make up the ground at the next level. He'll also need to learn how to take on blockers, both with the correct shoulder and leverage, and improve his shedding abilities.

One of the perhaps hidden attributes to his game: he displays the ability to be a very good blocker. He gets under the pads and drives well with his legs and feet. Because of this, he should be an asset in all areas of special teams. Insidently enough, I like him quite a bit as a powerback/FB or a TE, and if for whatever reason LB didn't work out, he could see time on offense because of his pure athletic ability.

As you can tell above, I really like McMillan's game. But I think, to go along with his very high ceiling, he has a bit of a bust threat as well. He is such a great athlete that he will contribute to any team he plays on, but his aggression coming downhill is also a worry. You want him to still be very quick to the ball and diagnose plays to the point of being in the backfield before the O-line is out of their stance, but if he's getting drawn out of plays on a consistent basis, essentially losing his responsibility he won't play, or if he does he will be responsible for a lot of defensive busts. As people know, defenses are only as strong as the weakest link, and while McMillan could be the strongest at times, he could also blow responsibilities and cause large holes in the defense. So it's a fine line between losing his aggression and becoming passive trying to diagnose plays correctly, and getting drawn out of position. It is also yet to be seen if he can play every down, while he has the pure athletic ability, he doesn't display a lot of hip flexibility or coverage presence yet. He's a great athlete and a great, great, HS LB, but he'll have to make some significant adjustments and learn how to do some things if he wants to reach his ceiling. But damn, he can hit.

Projection

  • ILB
  • Preferred in weakside ILB role
  • Early playing time on ST

Inside linebacker all the way. His best fit is in an offense that allows him to play very downhill. It reminds me of what ND has done with their LBs, as well as how Alabama used Dont'a Hightower, moving him down to DE on passing downs. I think a weakside ILB is the natural fit for McMillan's abilities. Early on I'd expect to see him on special teams. He could also be deployed as a blitz or pass rush specialist early. Potentially could see the field very early if big mistakes while still adjusting to the college game don't cause DC's from throwing too many headsets.

Etc.
I'm real happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...' is one of the greatest rap albums of all time.
AKA The Chef.

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