Saints 2020 Year-in-Review: Erik McCoy

If his 2020 season is any indication, New Orleans center Erik McCoy is quickly developing into a perennial Pro Bowl player.
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Entering the 2019 draft without a 1st round choice, the New Orleans Saints were looking for a potential replacement for retired Pro Bowl center Max Unger. The Saints traded up in the 2nd round and selected Texas A&M lineman Erik McCoy with the 48th overall pick.

McCoy, who had played predominantly guard in college, beat out veteran Nick Easton to win the starting center job in training camp. He started every game during his rookie year, missing just six snaps in a Week 8 win against Arizona all season. Despite struggling during a first-round playoff loss to the Vikings, along with the rest of his linemates, McCoy adjusted to his new position impressively. He played well enough to be voted to the 2019 All-Rookie team.

Entering the 2020 season, McCoy was again going to be the interior anchor of the NFL's best offensive line. Let’s have a closer look at his performance in our Year-in-Review spotlight.

ERIK MCCOY

Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to pass as center Erik McCoy (78) blocks at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to pass as center Erik McCoy (78) blocks at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

McCoy was again a pillar of stability for a New Orleans offense that was otherwise battered by injuries all season. He not only started all 18 games including playoffs, but his 3 missed snaps during a Week 12 win at Denver were the only time he wasn't on the field with his offense all year.

The sixth ranked New Orleans rushing attack is a mainly interior based scheme predicated on creating cutback lanes for running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. McCoy directed that inside charge, getting terrific push at the point of attack and opening up lanes for the team's talented runners. He also possesses rare athleticism for an interior lineman, allowing him to pull to the edge effectively for outside runs and screen passes.

More than just a dominant run blocker, the 6’4” 314-Lb McCoy also provided excellent interior pass protection for the New Orleans quarterbacks. Drew Brees was sacked just 13 times in 14 games and was often given plenty of time to go through his progressions.

Sep 27, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Saints center Erik McCoy (78) blocks against the Green Bay Packers. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY 

Sep 27, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Saints center Erik McCoy (78) blocks against the Green Bay Packers. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY 

Known as a solid technician coming out of college, McCoy reduced his holding penalties from five his rookie season to just two in 2020. He was the model of consistency for a New Orleans interior that saw erratic play from both left guard Andrus Peat and rookie 1st round choice Cesar Ruiz.

The 23-Yr old McCoy is an up-and-coming star, teaming with tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead to give the Saints a young a dominant trio of offensive linemen. He is signed to a team-friendly deal that accounts for less than a $2 million dollar salary cap hit over the next two seasons.