LB CAMERON MCGRONE
Weight: 232 lbs.
McGrone was a four-star recruit (according to 247 Sports), although some outlets had him as a five-star recruit.
He was recruited out of Indianapolis, Indiana, and he attended Lawrence Central High School. He was the 2nd Indiana recruit, and the 118th nationally ranked recruit in the 2018 cycle.
He only played in five games his junior year and amassed 91 tackles, 11 for a loss, three sacks, and one forced fumble in his two years of defensive play. He was also an All Big-10 honoree in 2019.
He suffered an upper-body injury (may have been concussion related) after the Michigan State game in 2020. He didn’t miss any time because of that but then suffered a lower-body injury against Rutgers late in the season and missed the next game. He played a lot of the season dinged up.
Solid overall size and weight; possesses good athletic ability that is highlighted by his quick ability to accelerate, his good change of direction skills, and his closing burst.
He has good speed and can play in a three-down role. He was used often as a blitzer in Don Brown’s heavy pressure defense, and he did well on stunts, twists, and blitzing the interior gaps.
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McGrone plays with high football intelligence and does a very good job keying and diagnosing running plays to the outside while reacting accordingly and putting himself into good positions to make tackles. He has shown an ability to shed an interior offensive lineman at the point of attack and packs a good punch with his hands.
However, against power/gap teams that love to pull, he has struggled with positioning on where to take on blocks, which can hinder his ability to shed--he can be a bit more decisive coming downhill on designed A-Gap power runs.
He is a bit grabby in coverage but has the requisite athletic ability to cover tight ends down the field. He will be mismatched against any receivers and shiftier running backs.
He seems to get to his landmark in zone coverage, and he understands route combinations and how to play them. He also does a good job diagnosing screens and accelerating to the football by reading his blocks.
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He is a sound tackler who delivers heavy hits on opposing ball carriers. Wraps up and plays with good overall play strength while violently throwing opponents to the ground. He played through several injuries in 2020 and showed excellent physical toughness.
He plays with a ton of competitive toughness as a blitzer; he is a bit reckless with his approach but is effective as a penetrator and looper on stunts. He may need to get a bit better with his hands, and he doesn’t have EDGE type of bend, but he should be effective in the NFL executing these types of blitzes.
Overall, McGrone is an explosive athlete at the second level who is a solid run defender, a good open-field tackler, can cover when asked and can blitz well.
He could be a bit better at shedding blocks in the hole against pulling blockers. He has the upside of being a solid starting middle linebacker in the NFL, and his downside is a core special teams player.
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