Denver Broncos may have struck gold with UDFA Mac McCain
Perhaps no team in the NFL has as rich of a history of developing stars out of undrafted free agents as the Denver Broncos. The Broncos’ list of undrafted free agents becoming stars or key contributors goes on for decades, and it’s basically just something everyone expects at this point.
After making 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos brought in a relatively “small” undrafted free agent group.
Considering the majority of them did not play this past year, it’s interesting to look at the number and percentage of Denver Broncos 2021 rookies to come from FCS or Division III programs. The team used a third-round pick on Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz, who looks like he might come right in and steal a starting job straight out of DIII.
After the draft, the team signed former FCS All-American offensive tackle Drew Himmelman (Illinois State) as well as North Carolina A&T star cornerback Mac McCain.
McCain was an All-Conference selection three times and looked at times like he was the one going full speed with everyone else moving in slow motion.
Among the Denver Broncos’ undrafted free agents in 2021, only one player (Himmelman) received a larger signing bonus than McCain.
McCain looked like he was going to be one of the more dominant FCS cornerbacks in recent memory prior to an ACL injury that cut his 2018 season short after just eight games. Through his first 20 college games, McCain had 87 total tackles, 24 passes broken up, and eight interceptions. Four of those interceptions were returned back for touchdowns.
There were no fewer than four other plays on tape where McCain could have easily picked off four more passes to bring his interception total up significantly, but he either dropped the ball or the receiver played a little defense and prevented an interception from happening.
It’s hard to look through the Denver Broncos’ current cornerback position and see a clear opening for a player like McCain, but the Broncos obviously convinced him to come to down despite signing multiple guys in free agency before drafting Pat Surtain II and Kary Vincent Jr.
McCain is going to have to fight. He’s going to need a lot of days like this leading up to and throughout training camp:
Considering the fact that McCain didn’t play this past year and also the fact that he came from an FCS school, adjusting to the speed of the NFL might be a little like drinking through a firehose. With that said, this guy is a football player. Football is football, and what he excels at is reading the quarterback and making breaks on the ball, using his superior instincts to bait quarterbacks into throws and then jump the route.
It’s possible the Denver Broncos have quite a steal on their hands here. The 2020 affected so many players differently, but the Broncos are trusting their scouting department here on a guy who hasn’t played since 2019.
And when he played in 2019, it was his first action since tearing an ACL. We saw Bradley Chubb this past year and how long it took him to really get back up to full speed.
McCain had a really good pro day after checking in at 5’11”, 186 pounds, running a 4.48 and posting a 35.5-inch vertical jump.
He’s got good tape, good athleticism, and despite the jump in play from FCS to the NFL, he’s got a chance.
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The Denver Broncos have a pretty deep all-around roster, which will make for some really fun offseason position battles on both sides of the ball.
The Denver Broncos are loaded at cornerback but Mac McCain is a name to keep an eye on this offseason.