Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State [LB] – Tom Like

Name: Raekwon McMillan

Position: Linebacker

School: Ohio State

Class: Junior

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 240lbs

40-Time: 4.61 (Combine)

Games Watched:

2016 – Wisconsin, Michigan, Clemson

2015 – Indiana, Illinois, Notre Dame

Honours:

2016: First-Team All-Big Ten

2016: Second Team All-American (Associated Press, USA Today, SI)

2014: Freshman All-American (247Sports, Scout.com)

2013: Butkus Award (High School)

2013: No.1 ILB prospect in the nation (ESPN, Rivals)

Production:

Raekwon McMillan played in 13 games as a true freshman. He logged 54 total tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2.5 Sacks, 1 INT and 1 PB.

In 2015 he racked up 119 total tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.5 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries and 4 PBs.

In 2016, as a Junior, he compiled 102 total tackles, 7.0 TFL, 2.0 Sacks, 2 FFs, 2 QB Hurries and 4 PBs.

 

(Getty Images)

Strengths:
Possesses good size for the position and emerged as a leader on a veteran depleted Buckeyes Defense in 2016. McMillan is at his best in run support and when he’s in the box. He reads his keys well and doesn’t get fooled by misdirection. He is a physical tough defender at the point of attack who wraps up extremely well and has a great understanding of the strike zone.

McMillan understands angles and can outpace pulling guards to the spot with his play quickness. He flashes the power to take on Full Backs in the hole and shows the kind of strength to excel as either a MLB or Strong Side Backer. He can attack hands first against blockers with good arm extension to keep his frame clean. He flashes this on tape and thus the technique must be there. He can be a force and has enough instincts, burst and strength to stack a blocker and hold his ground at the line of scrimmage.

He demonstrated good zone cover ability and reads the Quarterback eyes well, often sliding into passing lanes. His Tackle production jumps out and his near 300 tackles in a shortened career demonstrate that McMillan is a guy who is constantly around the football. The former 5-star recruit has shown great potential looking aggressive and tone setting at times, however, not enough.

 

Weaknesses:
McMillan is by no means a polished product and outside of his athleticism, which he quieted critics through his combine performance, has other areas of his game which need improving. In the run game he struggles to leverage his gaps as a take-on Linebacker and sometimes gets trapped on the wrong side of the block. He can be slow to disengage and tackle and often catches the blocker instead of attacking the position.

While he is great at reading plays and is rarely fooled, McMillan struggled to change direction against elusive ball carriers. It is this tightness in his lower half that also leads to him having some limitations in man coverage. This is tied to a lack of athleticism which despite appearing at the combine, is not there on tape.

He’s not a true sideline-to-sideline player and although his speed is not poor, there are going to be times that he just gets beat to the perimeter. The biggest test for him in the Pros will be whether he can stretch sideline-to-sideline. He lacks the explosiveness and agility to be an effective blitzer and sometimes does not give the 110% effort you want to see from the Linebacking position. His hot/cold aggression is something I believe that limits his athleticism appearing on tape and forcing him into the 1st Round.

 

Bottom Line:
Raekwon McMillan is a difficult evaluation, particularly his 2016 tape. He was dominant early in the season, struggled half way through but finished with some quality performances. The poor performances in the middle chunk may be due to a nagging injury – however, it is difficult to speculate.

He’s a solid run stuffed but scouts have doubts about him in passing coverage. Won the Butkus Award as the nations best LB in High School (2013) and was a Finalist in 2015. I believe he’ll end up on the outside in the NFL and could be a good SAM (strong-side) in a 4-3. At the moment he’s a good-not-great Linebacker prospect, however, I believe it’s his lack of aggression on tape that’s holding him back from being an upper echelon player.

Some will knock him as being only a two-down Linebacker who will need a strong support cast. He flashes the ability to be dominant but doesn’t consistently attack the gap/ blocker, thus allowing himself to get swallowed up off the ball. However, his top-5 showing among LB’s at the Combine with 23 reps on the bench press; and a 40 time of 4.61 (Duke Riley was the leader with 4.58) – will have significantly improved his draft stock. McMillan also performed well in coverage and agility drills. He easily flipped his hips in multi-directional zone-drop drills – thus giving scouts and GMs headaches about whether he can thrive in their system and develop into a complete three down Linebacker.

Round Grade:
Top of the 2nd Round

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