Cameron McGrone projects as a starting MIKE linebacker at the professional level. McGrone is just a redshirt sophomore who enters the NFL draft process with just 19 games and 15 starts at Michigan under his belt—a significantly small sample size that will leave teams needing a little extra clarity in order to decipher his ceiling within their respective defensive systems. McGrone claimed the Wolverines' starting MIKE LB position in 2019 after injuries forced the team to shuffle around their defensive depth chart and McGrone never looked back as a redshirt freshman. He was tremendous throughout the course of the 2019 season and while he did not quite play to that same caliber or level in 2020, he clearly has all of the physical tools needed to become a dynamic defensive playmaker for an NFL franchise as the heartbeat in the middle. McGrone operated as the MIKE in Dom Brown’s blitz-heavy defensive scheme, which has groomed McGrone to offer an NFL defense ample value on third downs and obvious passing situations. There’s not a great deal of exposure to more pure coverage reps, although he was afforded a handful of opportunities to pick-up back releases in man coverage or go flexed out wide against tight ends (Indiana 2020). McGrone also showed admirable toughness this past season, playing with a cast on his hand and continuing to play with a twitched presence who wasn’t afraid to lock horns with offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage. McGrone’s value stems from an explosive athletic profile and three-down value for the NFL game—meaning he should get a chance to crack a starting lineup fairly early on despite his lack of experience at the college level.
Ideal Role: Starting MIKE linebacker (three-down role).
Scheme Fit: Blitz-heavy schemes that implement interior stunts or pressure overloads with their linebackers in coverage. Gap penetration ideology.
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