GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers selected Boston College linebacker Isaiah McDuffie with the second of their sixth-round picks in the NFL Draft on Saturday.
After missing eight games with a knee injury in 2019, McDuffie started all 11 games in 2020. He posted career highs of 107 tackles, three sacks and 6.5 tackles for losses while recording the only interception. In a career that spanned 40 games with 20 starts, he finished with 230 tackles, eight sacks and four passes defensed.
“As a linebacker in the NFL he can run,” coach Jeff Hafley said. “He looks awesome right now. He’s got great speed. I think he ran in the high 4.5s. He’s extremely physical. He plays with his hair on fire. He practices that way. He is extremely tough. I think in a league where you need guys who can run, that’s what he can do. He’s a linebacker who can run, and that’s very important right now in most NFL schemes, the way the game is going.”
At 6-foot-1 1/4 and 227 pounds, he ran his 40 in 4.58 seconds at pro day. Historically, his times of 4.39 in the shuttle and 7.26 seconds in the three-cone drill suggested he might not be a target.
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“I’ll say I’m happy with my performance,” McDuffie said after his workout. “At the end of the day, my goal was 4.5s, and I felt like I hit that goal.”
McDuffie recorded 16 percent of the team's tackles, one of the highest marks in the draft class. He missed 13 tackles (11 percent), according to Sports Info Solutions, and gave up 13 completions in 15 targets in the passing game.
He was coached in high school by his father, Steve.
“My dad helped me get to this point, and my uncles, all who played at the Division I level,” McDuffie told The Buffalo News. “We knew what it took to get to this point, but it’s about putting in the work off the field and staying on top of everything you do. Be in the books. Go to the weight room. Take the guidance. A big part of this has been someone being there for you, and knowing what to do, and what you need to do.”
NFL Draft Bible says: McDuffie possesses NFL athleticism in a straight line, allowing him to be rangy at the second level, flowing with lateral runs and making plays at the sideline. A capable processor, he trusts his eyes and triggers, leading to some gap-shooting success. Getting the job done in zone coverage, he gains depth with his backpedal. Zone instincts are lacking as he does not consistently play routes behind him. In man coverage, he gets grabby. McDuffie takes blocks on with physicality arriving with low pad level and at extension, which allows him to uproot tight ends. Bigger blockers are usually able to anchor. Strong hands allow him to shed effectively after stacking blocks with his adequate length. He is a strong tackler when arriving while carrying momentum.