Feb 24, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Not many pundits knew who Jerron McMillian was going into the draft. After becoming the fifth of six (and counting!) consecutive defensive draft choices for Green Bay, he's still lost in the shuffle. I'll be honest, finding decent material on the internet was a challenge. I guess that comes with the territory when you're discussing one of the highest-rated prospects from Maine.
Physically speaking, McMillian is what you'd expect from a strong safety. At 5'11" and 203 lbs, he's able to match up against receivers of above-average size and many tight ends. More importantly, though, is that he combines his bulk with impressive speed in space (4.42 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) and in close quarters (6.69 in the 3-cone drill).
So he's built like a safety, but does he play like one? (Spoiler: yes.)
According to scouts, McMillian's best asset is his tackling prowess and his ability to diagnose plays as they unfold. Specifically, he specializes in run support; an advantage since he is stiff in his transitions in pass coverage. The descriptions remind me of Roy Williams, the safety famous for the horsecollar tackle rule. He was essentially an extra linebacker on running downs and passing downs alike, a dynamic that has some significant trade-offs. Great to have on first and second downs, but a liability on third.
I'll leave the topic with a quote from NFL.com's scouting reports, regarding the role McMillian is situated to best fill:
Without doubt he is a player who needs to be heavily involved with the front seven and will be attractive to blitz-heavy defenses.
A Dom Capers defense focusing on blitzing? Surely you jest.