New Orleans has found success with little-known college players like running back Alvin Kamara, tight end Jimmy Graham, and left tackle Terron Armstead who became major contributors to the Saints' success.
The second-round pick gave the offensive line stability after the unscheduled retirement of center Max Unger in March of 2019. In desperate need of a replacement at center, the Saints signed former Viking C/G Nick Easton.
However, New Orleans' scouts noticed Texas A&M center Erik McCoy and chose him in the 2019 NFL Draft's second round. According to PFF, "McCoy surrendered just 1 sack on 1,528 career pass-blocking snaps" at A&M.
McCoy and Easton battled for the starting position during training camp, and McCoy supplanted Unger as the Saints center.
McCoy, 23, has 32 regular-season and four postseason game starts under his belt. The Lufkin, TX native has centered and protected for quarterbacks Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill, and Jameis Winston to winning records in two seasons.
ERIK MCCOY'S TOP GRADES AND DURABILITY
The young center has been durable by starting all 36 total games for New Orleans. He has 2,132 offensive snaps for a 99.9% rate and an additional 114 special teams plays.
"McCoy was again a pillar of stability for a New Orleans offense - that was otherwise battered by injuries all season... [McCoy] missed three snaps during a Week 12 win at Denver...the only time he wasn't on the field in all year." Bob Rose, Saints News Network
He is an intelligent player. McCoy has 11 offensive penalties - 7 holding, three false starts, and one declined/offset through two NFL regular seasons. He calls the protections for the offensive line and rarely misses a blocking assignment.
At 6-4, 314 pounds, McCoy is gifted with strength, power, agility, and speed. Yes, speed! In Week 3 versus Green Bay, Cris Collinsworth nearly jumped for joy watching McCoy run downfield past Alvin Kamara to help block for the running back's "dazzling 52-yard" touchdown.
ERIK MCCOY'S FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Nick Shook of the NFL Network considers McCoy has one of the best young NFL players under 25.
McCoy isn't just another success story for the Saints, but he is a vital piece to New Orleans' overall offensive success. As my colleague, Bob Rose wrote, "Erik McCoy is on the verge of being the Saints' next "dominant offensive lineman" and a budding star in the league.
If he remains healthy and keeps growing in the position, I expect McCoy to have Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in the future.
More on Erik McCoy:
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