The Giants' sixth-round selection in this year's NFL Draft - UAB OT Matt McCants - is another one of GM Jerry Reese's possible "finds". Reese and his staff have a penchant for brushing aside shallow collegiate production and projecting what certain prospects can achieve at the pro level.
The team is excited about McCants' upside. They see him as a tackle of the future. AT 6'5" and 315 lbs with long arms, McCants projects to be a D'Brickashaw Ferguson-type that has both size and mobility. Whether he blossoms into that projection remains to be seem. The Giants have been rarely wrong on guys like these.
McCants is a project, much like James Brewer - who the Giants selected in last year's draft, may take some time to develop. He needs to get stronger and his learning curve is probably going to be a bit steeper, having come from a program that does not produce many NFL players.
Although McCants was a well-known prospect, he did not expect to get drafted, let alone by the Super Bowl champion Giants. He said he has never been to New York and was concerned about the dearth of one of his favorite foods (grits) in the NY Metro area.
"I'll have to bring some grits with me," he told the Birmingham News.
Reese on McCants: "He is definitely a tackle. He played left tackle for UAB. Really a pleasant surprise when you watch him. You have to look at him. UAB has not been a powerhouse of football lately, but you do your homework and go in a look at this guy. He is intriguing; long, 36-inch arms. I think at the Combine he was 308. I think he is 315 now. I think he will be 325 pounds in a blink. A very interesting prospect for us. We think that in a year or so he could really make some headway and challenge for a spot in our starting lineup. I think he is going to be that type of player for us."
Coach Tom Coughlin on McCants: "McCants, a big, tall kid. I just asked him a minute ago what he weighed. He said he was 315. That’s a good thing. He has great big, long arms, almost 36-inch arms. He has played on the left side. I kidded around with him about being Secretariat. That he is not. He has such height, he’s going to get bigger and bigger, and he may give us some flexibility. We’re going to start him out on the left side, and if we have to move him to the right side, that’s fine. But he’s excited."
Pro Football Weekly AnalysisPlayed tuba in the band before taking up football his senior season in Alabama. As a true freshman in 2007, started 7-of-11 games at left tackle. Was academically ineligible in ’08. Started all 24 games at left tackle in 2009 and ’10. Made 11 starts at left tackle in ’11, missing only the UCF game because of an illness.
Positives: Looks the part — tall with a lean, projectable frame, room for added bulk and vines for arms (big wingspan). Has length and stature to snare and control defenders. Steers rushers wide with ease. Can pop and recoil. Fluid straight-line movement shows in space. Climbs to the second level in two steps and pulls with explosion — can lead through the hole and blow it out (see Southern Miss). Flashes some nasty. Has upside.
Negatives: Needs to bulk up and get stronger (short on finishing strength). Carries his hands low and too often lands high and wide of the target. Needs to learn to bend at the knees and play with a better base. Soft drive blocker. Average body control. Can be impatient — lunges and whiffs. Struggles adjusting to counters and is slow to recover. Opens the gate and lets rushers cross his face. Inconsistent sustain. Short on instincts, intelligence and awareness. Slow eyes — not alert to stunts and blitzes. Technique needs work.
Summary: Left the band to join the football team and is physically talented, but raw, inconsistent and still growing into being a football player — physically and mentally. Looks like a starting left tackle in flashes, but is a developmental project at this stage of his career. Is most ideally suited for a zone-slide protection scheme.
Here is a video we found on You Tube featuring McCants at the Senior Bowl: