Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rookie free agent profile: Rodney McLeod, DB, Virginia

Rodney McLeod 5'10" 183
DB, Virginia

58th-ranked cornerback by Pro Football Weekly. Graded as a player who should make an NFL training camp.
NFLDraftScout: 25th-ranked free safety, #600 player overall, free agent grade.

2011: Team captain. Honorable mention all-ACC. Started all 13 games. 57 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 7 passes broken up. 3-INT game vs. Maryland. Played in East-West Shrine Game.
2010: Moved to strong safety after defense switched from 4-3 to 3-4. Played in 10 games, starting 9. 54 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, one pass broken up.
2009: Started 11 games at corner. 62 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 passes broken up, 2 forced fumbles, one fumble recovery.
2008: Named the team's outstanding first-year player. Played in 9 games, primarily nickel defense and special teams. 17 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, one sack, one pass broken up, one forced fumble. Averaged 19.4 yards on 7 kick returns.

Major: sociology.

2010: missed two games due to a knee strain. Missed most of another game due to concussion.
2009: missed one game due to a knee injury.

NFLDraftScout classifies McLeod as “currently” coming off a knee injury, but I can find no evidence he missed time last year due to injury or had any surgery to his knee in 2012.

Pro day stats: (NFL Combine DB averages in parentheses)
4.60 40 (4.59)
1.55 10-yard split (1.56)
36.5” vertical jump (Would have been in top 10 DBs at Combine. Average: 34.5”)
10'1" broad jump (10'0")
6.50 3-cone drill (Would have been
best time at the Combine by a DB. Average: 6.92)
4.12 20-yard shuttle (4.16)
15 bench press (16)

Positives: Tough, physical, aggressive and always around the ball. Strong competitive streak. Plays faster than his timed speed. Has fluid hips, good feet and a smooth backpedal. Reads plays well and doesn't blow assignments. Good instincts, gets to the outside well to make plays and battles hard to defend passes. Good wrap-up tackler who breaks down well. Good short-area quickness, good deep speed, good lateral quickness. Excellent hand-eye coordination. Has some potential as a zone DB.

Negatives: Undersized and athletically limited. Struggles in man coverage. Doesn't locate the ball well and is usually a half-second late making a play. Lacks a good closing burst. Looks good in practice but it doesn't translate to the field. Had a bad missed tackle to give up a TD in the Shrine Game. Multiple knee injuries.

Compares to: Craig Dahl.

Fun Facts: Rodney played defensive back and wide receiver for famed DeMatha High School in Maryland. He scored 8 TDs his senior year on just 24 catches and returned three kickoffs for TDs.

RamView: Early reports are that McLeod has looked good in practice, but that's kind of his M.O. Can he turn those good practices into good play on the field? RamView doesn't really cotton to short safeties who have trouble finding the ball. But McLeod has surprising athleticism for his non-drafted status, the roster spot he's competing for is wide open, his competition is other rookie free agents, and the best of the group, Matt Daniels, has been out injured all camp so far. McLeod's chances of sticking on the roster are better than one might originally think, and he'll only enhance them by continuing to make plays.

Chance of making roster: 45%.

Sources: Pro Football Weekly, NFLDraftScout, University of Virginia athletics, Sports Illustrated,, Tom Melton Scouting, Ourlads


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