July 29, 2014
No. 11: McKinzy
|BUNKER rank ||BM rank ||AD rank ||JGT rank |
|8 ||11 ||12 ||10 |
Linebackers are in the middle of an evolution. Defensive coordinators have been moving away from the bone-crushing monsters of yesteryear in favor of guys with more quickness, length and cover ability.
That makes Cassanova McKinzy, at the age of 21, an old-school defender.
He's exactly what coaches wanted in the 1980s and early 1990s -- a 250-pound missle capable of silencing anyone with a ball in his hands. He's a specter, an enforcer, an embodiment of the pain tailbacks feel when they agree to play the position. He was made to make offensive coordinators think twice about trying to run through 'A' and 'B' gaps.
That's exactly what McKinzy did last season. He played in all 14 games, led the team with 75 tackles including eight for loss and habitually set a defensive tone with at least one graphic hit.
McKinzy isn't particularly quick, but he took some steps forward with his anticipation last season. That made him play faster. He also became more adept at shedding blocks while keeping a close eye on offensive flow, which is the kind of multitasking Ellis Johnson needs from his two linebackers.
- Jay G. Tate
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