NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: USC safety T.J. McDonald
|03.31.13 at 8:46 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Weight: 219 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-Pac-12 second team, 2011 All-America first team (Sporting News, Pro Football Weekly), 2011 All-America second team (SI.com), 2011 All-Pac-12 first team, 2010 All-Pac-10 second team
What he brings: McDonald enjoyed success as an “in-the-box” safety at USC, and scouts like his build and his straight-line speed. He has good ball skills and competes well for balls in the air, due in part to his height. McDonald is versatile, having played various roles all over USC’s defense in 2012, and is known as an aggressive defender against the run. However, he may be hurt by the perception of him as a purely in-the-box safety, and some observers think he may struggle against NFL spread passing attacks (in fact, it happened from time to time against strong passing teams in the Pac-12).
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 3
Notes: Statistically, McDonald had his best season at USC in his senior year, with 112 tackles (6.5 for a loss), a sack and two interceptions. His father Tim was an all-American safety at USC in the mid-1980s and had a 13-year NFL career, winning a Super Bowl with the 49ers in 1994. … McDonald didn’t stand out much at the Senior Bowl, which could hurt his draft stock somewhat, but he’s projected to go in the third round. He was suspended a half-game in 2011 for a hit on a Stanford receiver.
Video: Here’s a look at McDonald vs. Stanford in 2012.