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There isn't a lot of bad things to say about Koa Misi except that he cannot stay healthy. The Dolphins, knowing that his career is flirting with retirement on any play drafted "The Ohio State" LB Raekwan McMillan. He is a linebacker with a lot of smarts and instincts and is a tackling machine. There are questions that he can be a 3-Down linebacker as he is weak in pass coverage. If you are looking for a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, well, he isn't it. That would be Kiko Alonzo. ESPN Insider gave him an "Exceptional" in height/weight/speed and that is sure to bring some excitement for us Dolfans. We will have to see, but I am excited to see that we made a move to improve our linebacking group with another hard-hitting tackler. I think he will excite us with some of his tackles this year, and even beat out Koa Misi at some point this year.

“This is an Alpha guy, a two-time captain, a guy who makes all the calls. He is a tackling machine. He is a big body in the middle. The guy can run. This is a guy we feel really strongly about.” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier.

 

 

 

YOUTUBE VIDEOS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall Football Traits

Production 2
Height-Weight-Speed 1
Durability 2
Intangibles 2

 

Inside Linebacker Specific Traits

Instincts/
Recognition
2 Does a good job reading his initial key, and then locates the ball quickly on his secondary run read. Quality patience from maintaining gap integrity for cut back as back side run defender.Improve awareness in coverage as a junior. Still will be a quarter coun late diagnosing play action or misdirection passes.
Take-on Skills 1 Savvy take on skills. Knows when to take on and when to slip. Usually takes on with proper shoulder but also knows when to 'wrong shoulder' the blocker. Sifts through traffic very effectively and uses his hands to keep blockers from reaching him.
Range vs. Run 2 Very good speed on a straight-line (4.61 forty-yard dash). Quality pursuit angles and wades through traffic well. At his best between the tackles but makes plenty of plays outside the tackle box. Does show some tightness if forced to quickly redirect.
Tackling 2 Good overall tackler. Closes quickly and packs a heavy punch. Strong wrap and drives his legs through contact. Occasionally will attack too high but doesn't fall off many tackles in a confined area. Shows some some tightness and vulnerability in the open field against more elusive runners.
3rd Down Capabilities 3 Off the field on some obvious pass downs. Adequate range in zone coverage. Instincts continue to evolve. Showing better understanding of route combos and faster eyes picking up crossers. Has some tightness and will struggle to match up one-on-one versus quicker RBs. Has closing burst as a pass rusher but limited upside in this area. Doesn't show much of a counter when reached as a blitzer.
 

Status Report

A team captain as junior, McMillian has appeared in all 41 career games while starting all 26 games the past two seasons (2015-'16). Team leading 102 tackles in 2016. McMillan is an instinctive and physical inside linebacker with quality range as a run defender. Improved every year in coverage and tested well at combine. However, there are still questions whether he can be a three-down linebacker at the NFL level. McMillan hasthe potential to be off the board within the top 75 selections of the 2017 NFL Draft. -- March 15, 2017
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

 

 

 

 

Overview

McMillan couldn't pull off the double Butkus Award win as the best linebacker at both the high school (won in 2013) and collegiate levels (finalist in 2015), but his play during his three years in Columbus won over NFL scouts. He graduated from high school a semester early to join OSU football for spring practice, which paid off in the fall when he played in all 15 games, lining up for more snaps than the starter in nine of those contests. He won second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2015, leading the team with 119 tackles (four for loss, four pass breakups). McMillan didn't rack up quite as many tackles as a junior (102, seven for loss) but still gained recognition for his play as a second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection.

Analysis

Strengths

Downhill movement after the snap is his norm. Understands angles. Can outpace pulling guards to the spot with his play quickness. Reads his keys and responds. Plays with good anticipation of lane choice by the runner. Attacks hands-first into blockers with good arm extension to keep his frame clean. Good zone-cover ability. Reads quarterback's eyes and slides into passing lanes. Has added additional thickness during his tenure.

Weaknesses

Struggles to leverage his gap as a take-on linebacker. Gets widened out of his gap by size. Gets trapped on the wrong side of the block. Tends to play over the top of a block rather than under it. Slow to disengage and tackle. Tight in his lower half. Missing the quick, reactive change of direction to consistently secure shifty runners. Delayed in stop-start pursuit to the sideline. Has some limitations in man coverage.

Draft Projection

Round 3

Sources Tell Us

"I see him as a backup early on who will become a starter at SAM (strong-side) for a 4-3 team. He's been pretty productive but I don't see anything special." -- South area scout for NFC team

NFL Comparison

Mason Foster

Bottom Line

McMillan has too many issues standing his ground and leveraging his gap as an interior run defender and could end up outside in the pros. He might have benefited from playing alongside a slew of NFL talent, but he's active and plays the game with good instincts. He has the potential to become an average starter in the league. -Lance Zierlein
 
 
 
Strengths:
• Defensive leader as a SAM and MLB in three years. Moved to MLB full-time as a junior.
• Quality delayed blitzer, showing good downhill burst, awareness and finishing ability.
• Follows the QB’s eyes well, but not overly reliant on it. Still drifts towards the nearest man so he doesn’t get moved out of position.
• Great range inside the numbers but outside the hashes and tackle box. Big-time hitter.
• Takes very good angles to the ball. Maximizes efficiency and mitigates athleticism.
• Hyper-aware of the ball and play direction.
• Stays clean of blocks well, but scrapes even better. Powerful hands and timing on his punches. Core strength is a major positive for him.
 
Weaknesses:
• Put on weight to move to MLB full-time entering 2016. Zapped some of his speed, so getting him backdown to 230-235 would be ideal.
• Isn’t a quick-twice or freak athlete, even at a lower weight. Affects his upside in man coverage and the range he has in zone.
• Not quite a prolific sideline-to-sideline tackler. Lack of speed holds him back there.
• Just one interception and forced fumble in his career. Lack of great production and taking the ball away must be a question-mark for upside.
 
Summary
A big 5* recruit out of high school, it didn’t take long for Raekwon McMillan to find himself as another impact linebacker in Ohio State’s history. Moving between the strong-side and middle linebacker positions, then finally claiming the middle for himself as a junior. McMillan established himself as a highly-physical tackler, and capable coverage man. At 245 pounds in 2016, he did look a little too heavy and slow for the NFL, so getting him to 235 could be a key development in his coverage potential. Right now, he is an above-average run defender that takes on blocks and sheds them accordingly well. He’s going to massively upgrade one team’s run defense in the middle, and should prove to be at least average in coverage.
 
 

Player Overview

Now that top defenders Joey Bosa (San Diego), Eli Apple (New York Giants) and Darron Lee (New York Jets) have made the jump to the pros, McMillan - a former five-star recruit who excelled in 2015 in his first season as a starter - appears poised to make the jump to superstardom.

McMillan signed with the Buckeyes as one of the more highly touted prep prospects in the country, opting to travel north to play for Urban Meyer despite growing up in the heart of the SEC. Though he did not start as a freshman, McMillan actually logged more playing time in nine games than the man playing ahead of him (senior Curtis Grant), checking in with 573 total plays, including 471 on defense. McMillan registered 54 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season. He also intercepted a pass against Maryland, returning it 24 yards for a touchdown.

With such an impressive debut on a team which ultimately won the national championship, optimism was high that McMillan would take the next step as a sophomore. McMillan did more than that in 2015, taking over the starting role in the middle and emerging as a Butkus Award finalist with a team-leading 119 tackles - the most from a sophomore at Ohio State since Steve Tovar's 125 stops back in 1990.

McMillan's numbers behind the line of scrimmage dropped slightly (four, including 1.5 sacks) in '15, but he showed greater awareness in coverage, batting down four passes as a sophomore after registering just one in his first year.

 

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: At a rock-solid 6-2, 240 pounds, McMillan possesses prototypical size for inside linebacker, including a stout core and thick lower half, which help him anchor against blockers. Unlike many of the undersized MIKE backers in today's college football who are reliant on avoiding would-be blockers, McMillan already shows NFL-caliber strength, taking on and shedding opponents efficiently with active, powerful hands, lateral agility and balance. He is a powerful tackler, often stopping ballcarriers dead in their tracks.

This is not to say that McMillan is simply an old-school battering ram. In fact, he shows impressive diagnosis skills to read the play, including the spatial awareness to "slip" blocks simply by taking efficient angles to the ball to beat blockers to the action. McMillan does not possess the same degree of athleticism as his former teammate, Lee (who was clocked at an eye-popping 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 232 pounds), but he is a coordinated athlete whose quick, choppy steps help him beat backs to the corner and make plays in coverage.

McMillan's dedication to his craft has impressed the Ohio State coaching staff, who already named the third-year junior a co-captain for this season.

 

WEAKNESSES: As his team-leading tackle numbers prove, McMillan was adept at "cleaning up" a year ago, but scouts are eager to see how he responds now that opposing blocking schemes will be focusing on him. McMillan lacks ideal flexibility, struggling to change directions quickly in tight quarters and occasionally allowing ballcarriers to slip by him. He shows a propensity to misread runs and keep his eyes glued in the backfield too long in coverage.

Further, McMillan is more efficient than explosive in pursuit, raising some questions about his pure speed and potential to remain on the field on passing downs against NFL competition.

Finally, while a generally reliable tackler, McMillan is often more reliant on the power he generates as a face-up hitter to knock down ballcarriers rather than reaching his arms out to catch runners in pursuit or to punch out the ball.

 

IN OUR VIEW: As a glass-eating, run-stuffing middle linebacker, McMillan is perfectly suited to traditional Big Ten football and may post the gaudy numbers this fall to actually win the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker (like he did in high school). If he is to continue Ohio State's legacy of first-round defenders, however, McMillan must convince scouts that he possesses the speed and playmaking ability to remain on the field on all three downs.

--Rob Rang (@robrang), Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler), 9/20/16

 

WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS PICK.

David Jeremiah (NFL.COM) *
Pick Analysis: "There were some questions about his athleticism, but then he shows up at the combine and ran much faster than any one had anticipated. ... They bring in Lawrence Timmons as a free agent, they re-sign Kiko Alonso and now they have just brought in McMillan to get those linebackers all square away in Miami." -- Daniel Jeremiah 
 
James Walker (ESPN) *

Why they did it: The Dolphins needed help at linebacker and finally got it in the second round. McMillan will compete immediately with incumbent outside linebacker Koa Misi, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the past couple of seasons. Miami was 30th against the run last year and needs to get more physical in the front seven.

Biggest question: How high is McMillan's ceiling? He was the fifth- or sixth-best player on Ohio State's defense last season, according to most draft projections. Is that worthy of a second-round pick? The Dolphins need impact players immediately on defense and McMillan too often didn't stand out among other stars with the Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see if that changes with the Dolphins.

 

RotoWorld *

McMillan (6’2/240) arrived at OSU as a five-star recruit and did not disappoint, starting for 2-of-3 years and leading the Buckeyes in tackles in each of those two seasons. McMillan broke out for second-team All-America honors as 2016 junior, then turned pro. McMillan is an above-average athlete with 51st-percentile SPARQ results and 4.61 speed, but he showed coverage limitations against backs and tight ends and lacks ideal change-of-directions skills. Still, McMillan possesses NFL-caliber Mike ‘backer traits with fundamentally sound tackling and plus blitzing ability.

 

FOX Sports *

The Dolphins needed a linebacker ... but a space linebacker. I think that McMillan is a middle linebacker and question if he was a better option than Zach Cunningham, who was also available.

 

Todd McShay (ESPN) *

Team captain. 41 career games. Highly productive. Every time I watched them, he’s the guy finishing things up. He’s a big, physical, run stuffing. A great tackler. And he kept getting better. He started to deliver his sophomore year. This past year I thought he had his best year. There are some coverage limitations but you are getting a tough guy in the middle of your defense.

 

Mel Kiper (ESPN) *

Can he be an everydown player with those coverage issues? He’s not a guy that’s going to get after the quarterback.... A little too one dimensional for today’s NFL where they’re throwing it all over the yard. This would have been a great pick in 1985, 95. I wonder if he can play every down in today’s NFL.

 

Luke Easterling (Draft Wire) *

“Raekwon was one of my favorite players in this class," he told the Miami USA Today site. "I spoke with him at length during the season and came away impressed with his intelligence and intangibles. He’s a leader who can make plays all over the field, against both the run and pass. Adjusting to NFL speed is something every rookie has to deal with, but I think his football IQ will make things slower for him than most. Another great value pick for Miami.”

 

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