Mark McLaurin, S
School: Mississippi State | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 212 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 6th Round to UDFA
NFL Comparison: Trayvon Henderson
Mark McLaurin was a 3-star recruit from Collins, Mississippi. He was pursued by just about every program in the state but he quickly committed to the Bulldogs as he was sold on the vision and goal of winning and SEC Championship pitched to him by head coach Dan Mullen. McLaurin contributed a little his freshman season but his career really took off going into his sophomore year. He became a starter mid way through that season and was responsible for a game winning interception over then ranked #4 Texas A&M. His junior year was even better at McLaurin was able to highlight his takeaway ability. He was the team’s leading tackler than year and led the SEC in interceptions which included picking off Lamar Jackson three times in the TaxSlayer Bowl where he was named MVP. McLaurin surely was wanting to build off that success this year but experienced a drop off in the interception category. Still he was considered a critical half to a physical safety for the Bulldogs who has been able to post impressive production despite below average athletic traits which were confirmed at the NFL Combine. McLaurin should be in the mix as a late day three pick. With his size, ability to work downhill, and proclivity for tackling should make a roster based on those abilities translating to special teams.
- Good size, length, and ability to work downhill for the position.
- If the play is on his side of the field he generally in in good position to get in on it. Read and react ability is good and play speed looks fine too. Especially dangerous when spying into the backfield and reading flats and screens. Puts his foot in the ground and works downfield to blow up plays for loss or little gain.
- In coverage backpedal looks smooth and turn is decent. He slows up in these transitions of direction but can recover with his length. Looks best with playing 8 men in the box where he can play close to the LOS.
- Can deliver a good body check at the top of the receivers route when playing man coverage.
- On paper he looks like a great tackler on on film you’ll see he approaches takedowns with finesse. You’ll see a lot of ankle diving and what appear to be textbook wrap up tackles but he lacks power behind them and often needs help to complete the play.
- Athleticism is below average. Miss St did a good job of helping cover that with the coverages they ran in their 4-2-5. Doesn’t have the range to play anything other than box safety and coverage technique need a lot of work as well. Eyes can be glued to the receiver and he can get overly physical causing flags. 2017 Louisville game showed he had decent hands but interceptions were result of butterfingered receivers and inaccurate passes rather than natural instincts to break on the ball.
- Not sure about his natural instincts I don’t see him picking up on the receivers route a lot or closing in on a short pass or run before it gets to his threshold I also don’t see that many false steps or movements that completely take him out of position.
Let’s see his work:
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
As I watched McLaurin I didn’t see a safety I saw a spot linebacker. While he has his issues with power and tackling technique I think he is much more effective playing off the LOS around 5-10 yards than he is playing in the secondary 15 yards or more off the ball. I think his play speed is better than his timed speed and though he lacks agility and I’m assuming he wouldn’t test great in the other explosion tests (which he didn’t do at the Combine) he does have a nose for the ball and can get in on plays in this range. He is also not bad being used as a spy in the middle of the field or playing zone coverage in thirds. A lot of things point to him being a limited player but I think because of his passion and work ethic he will find himself on a team next year contributing mostly to special teams. He needs to work on his play strength and technique but the Redskins could use guys like this to fill out kick coverage teams and well as add depth to the position. While I’m tempted to say he should just go ahead and gain 20 lbs and make that conversion it likely would have an even more adverse affect on his athleticism. I think McLaurin could remain at safety in name and in stature but if he sees the field before he has a chance to improve the aforementioned areas I would not want him in coverage down field or having to come a long distance to get to the ball. The Mississippi State coaches knew this and put him in very good positions that cover up his deficiencies. The NFL team he plays with hopefully will make the same considerations.