GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers used the second of their sixth-round picks on Boston College linebacker Isaiah McDuffie. Here’s a look at his four-year career with the Eagles.
Isaiah McDuffie’s Stats with Boston College
A full-time starter for the first time as a senior, McDuffie
recorded 107 tackles, including three sacks and 6.5 for losses, in 11 games. He had 10-plus tackles in seven games, including a career-high 16 vs. Notre Dame. He added one interception to earn second-team all-ACC. He had a breakout sophomore season. In 12 games (six starts), he had 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 5.5 TFLs. He missed the first eight games of the 2019 season with a knee injury.
In 40 career games (20 starts), he recorded 230 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 15.5 TFLs. What stands out like a sore thumb is his lack of impact in the passing game. He had the one interception and just four passes defensed in his career.
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Going Beyond the Box Score
At 6-foot-1 1/4 and 227 pounds, McDuffie is a new-school linebacker. Even a decade ago, his path to the draft would be shedding 10 pounds to play safety. Not anymore. With 4.58 speed in the 40 and a motor that runs hot, he should be a strong fit at linebacker in today’s NFL.
“I was kind of a Swiss Army knife. I could rush. I could check tight ends, running backs in space, play inside, outside the ball,” he said. “I just feel like at the next level I’m here to do whatever a team asks me to do, whether that’s special teams or contributing on defense. I’m just ready to do the gritty jobs and do whatever I can do help the team.”
The whole doesn’t equal the sum of its parts, though. Too often, he’s a day late and a dollar short. It’s quite a feat to have all those tackles but have only eight stuffs (a tackle at or behind the line vs. the run). It’s quite a feat to play 326 coverage snaps and get your hands on one football.
It will be up to linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti to get his eyes on what they need to focus on so he can get to the ball sooner. If that can be accomplished, McDuffie’s got three-down potential. That’s a big if, though. To some extent, you either have instincts or you don’t.
Before the draft, a scout called this the best off-the-ball linebacker class he’d seen in his two decades in the business. General manager Brian Gutekunst hoped to tap into that depth with an early-round pick. Instead, he got McDuffie late and might add a veteran.
“I think we’re going to have to take a look at that as we move forward,” he said. “I’ve talked a lot about roster building being 365 days a year, so we’ll continue to kind of look at that. I do like a lot of the young players we have in that room and expecting those guys to take big jumps, and there’ll be good competition in that room. But it just didn’t fall early like we wanted it to. We were super-happy to get there to the end and pick up Isaiah McDuffie. Not only as an inside linebacker but we think he has a really good chance to be a special special-teams player.”