More Corners As We Get Deeper in the Draft: Maryland's Dexter McDougle

Rob Carr

Continuing the theme, with another risky player coming off injury, the talented Terrapin, Dexter McDougle

It probably seems for most fans, that if the Chargers fail to address a cornerback in the 1st round, that the sky is falling, and the draft is already a waste. That's not the case. This draft is very "middle heavy" in talent, and that couldn't be more true at the cornerback position. Dexter McDougle was playing well until he had season ending surgery on his shoulder. Had that not been the case, we're likely mentioning him somewhere in the second round, third at worst.

McDougle wasn't able to perform at the combine, but was ready to perform at his pro day, where he put up impressive numbers.

Measurable McDougle Average CB at the Combine
Height 5'10 5'11.2
Weight 196 192.47
Arm Length 30 5/8" 31.51"
10 yard Split N/A 1.53
40 Yard Dash 4.51 4.5
Bench Press N//A 14.5
Vertical Jump 37.5 36"
Broad Jump 122" 121"
3 Cone 6.84 6.89
20 yard Short Shuttle N/A 4.16
60 Yard Shuttle N//A 11.43

McDougle ran a 4.43, but it was wind aided and the official time came in at 4.51. His 3 cone/vertical would tie him for the 9th/10th fastest at the position, respectively.

All or Nothing Mentality

McDougle was a strange study for me. In some games, it seemed like he would jump every route, and play incredibly aggressive. Other games, he would give up far too much cushion, and play things safe, seemingly be okay with giving up the 8 yard catch. It could be a sign of him just showing great awareness and knowing who he is going up against.

Maryland played quite a bit of off coverage, so it was easy in that sense to see how McDougle would fit in San Diego. I thought he showed that he has pretty good route recognition, and reacted very well for the most part.

Mcdouglebreak_medium

Mcdougle does a good job of getting out of his back pedal quickly to break up the pass. He's best at defending all outbreaking routes, and comebacks. He's very good in zone coverage. I think this is when he plays most aggressive and confident, when he can see everything in front of him. The next GIF is picture perfect zone defense.

Mcdouglepick_medium

McDougle plays both the ball & the quarterback, pins the receiver to the sideline, and finishes the play with an interception.

The issue was when McDougle as isolated on a receiver, that's when he really played it safe(think Antoine Cason) & would bail when he didn't have to.

Mcdougledrift_medium

I'd like to see McDougle trust his speed more. He showed he has no issue turning and running with receivers.

Versatility

I noted McDougle is very comfortable in off coverage, but he's not limited to just that. He's shown the ability to play press man, and turn and run with the receiver. Strength/physicality isn't his game, but McDougle mirrors the receiver very well and puts himself in a good position to make plays on the ball.

Maryland also played a "press bail" technique, where the corner bails at the snap. I'm a big fan of this coverage, and if you have smart corners, it's very effective.

Mcdouglebail_medium

McDougle is a smart player that can excel in any coverage.

Issues With Transitioning

McDougle is a good athlete, but has a tendency to let his feet get too wide at the top of the route. This leads to him giving up too much separation, and allowing the reception. While he does have a good enough burst to recover, sometimes the cushion is just too big to over come.

Mcdouglefeet_medium

Transitioning is an issue for McDougle. He'll need to play with cleaner technique at the next level.

Mcdouglefeet1_medium

Those extra steps at the end there, right when the receiver makes his break at the 40 yard line, McDougle should be coming downhill with the receiver, not drifting back still.

The transition issues aren't just tied to McDougle's feet. He has some stiffness to him. Stiffness might be too strong, but he isn't Rashaad Reynolds or Jason Verrett when it comes to changing directions.

Mcdouglestiff_medium

As McDougle goes to flip his hips, it's not as smooth as you would like it to be, especially for a player who is athletic as he is.

As a Run Defender/Blitzer

Maryland sent McDougle on the blitz from the boundary quite a bit. He did miss some tackles, because he left his feet too often, but as far as blitzing goes and in the run game, McDougle is very active. He is always either chasing down plays, or trying to beat blocks and secure the tackle. The effort is certainly there.

Strength Issues

My final critique on McDougle is that his strength was noticeably exposed when he was trying to get off blocks, or on in breaking routes when he would try and disrupt at the catch point. Blockers would easily out muscle him, and he wasn't able to shed the blocks. When it came down contesting catches over the middle, McDougle would be in position, but didn't have the strength to break up the catch once the receiver had his hands on the ball.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable

Skill Weight Grade
Long Speed 2 1.7
Closing Speed/Accleration 2 1.7
Ball Skills 3 2.6
Eye Discipline 2 1.7
Strength 2 1
Athleticism 2 1.7
Route Recognition/Instincts 3 2.6
Tackling/Blitz Ability 2 1.4
Cover Skills 4 3.7
Change of Direction/Feet 3 2.1

McDougle grades out to a 7.27, or a mid to late 3rd round talent. He's very smart, and aware, and doesn't get beat. McDougle is scheme diverse & can help a team in a variety of coverages. He'll need to fix his footwork, and transition better if he wants to excel at the next level. It'll be interesting to see where he goes in the draft coming off injury.

How He Fits as a Charger

McDougle is a good fit because San Diego plays off man coverage more than double than they do press coverage. This plays to McDougle's strengths so he can see everything in front of him, and make the play. Because of his transition issues, even though he's 5'10- & sub 200, I believe he's best suited outside, where the receiver only has a 1 way go on him. I've been wondering more and more lately if the Chargers roll the dice and take two corners. McDougle would be a good middle to late round pick.

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