2017 NFL DRAFT

Raekwon McMillan, ILB

School: Ohio State  |  Conference: BIG10
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Hinesville, GA
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 240 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
4822

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.61--23 33---
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.61--23 3310'1"--

Player Overview

Now that top defenders Joey Bosa (San Diego), Eli Apple (New York Giants) and Darron Lee (New York Jets) have made the jump to the pros, McMillan - a former five-star recruit who excelled in 2015 in his first season as a starter - appears poised to make the jump to superstardom.

McMillan signed with the Buckeyes as one of the more highly touted prep prospects in the country, opting to travel north to play for Urban Meyer despite growing up in the heart of the SEC. Though he did not start as a freshman, McMillan actually logged more playing time in nine games than the man playing ahead of him (senior Curtis Grant), checking in with 573 total plays, including 471 on defense. McMillan registered 54 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season. He also intercepted a pass against Maryland, returning it 24 yards for a touchdown.

With such an impressive debut on a team which ultimately won the national championship, optimism was high that McMillan would take the next step as a sophomore. McMillan did more than that in 2015, taking over the starting role in the middle and emerging as a Butkus Award finalist with a team-leading 119 tackles - the most from a sophomore at Ohio State since Steve Tovar's 125 stops back in 1990.

McMillan's numbers behind the line of scrimmage dropped slightly (four, including 1.5 sacks) in '15, but he showed greater awareness in coverage, batting down four passes as a sophomore after registering just one in his first year.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: At a rock-solid 6-2, 240 pounds, McMillan possesses prototypical size for inside linebacker, including a stout core and thick lower half, which help him anchor against blockers. Unlike many of the undersized MIKE backers in today's college football who are reliant on avoiding would-be blockers, McMillan already shows NFL-caliber strength, taking on and shedding opponents efficiently with active, powerful hands, lateral agility and balance. He is a powerful tackler, often stopping ballcarriers dead in their tracks.

This is not to say that McMillan is simply an old-school battering ram. In fact, he shows impressive diagnosis skills to read the play, including the spatial awareness to "slip" blocks simply by taking efficient angles to the ball to beat blockers to the action. McMillan does not possess the same degree of athleticism as his former teammate, Lee (who was clocked at an eye-popping 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 232 pounds), but he is a coordinated athlete whose quick, choppy steps help him beat backs to the corner and make plays in coverage.

McMillan's dedication to his craft has impressed the Ohio State coaching staff, who already named the third-year junior a co-captain for this season.

WEAKNESSES: As his team-leading tackle numbers prove, McMillan was adept at "cleaning up" a year ago, but scouts are eager to see how he responds now that opposing blocking schemes will be focusing on him. McMillan lacks ideal flexibility, struggling to change directions quickly in tight quarters and occasionally allowing ballcarriers to slip by him. He shows a propensity to misread runs and keep his eyes glued in the backfield too long in coverage.

Further, McMillan is more efficient than explosive in pursuit, raising some questions about his pure speed and potential to remain on the field on passing downs against NFL competition.

Finally, while a generally reliable tackler, McMillan is often more reliant on the power he generates as a face-up hitter to knock down ballcarriers rather than reaching his arms out to catch runners in pursuit or to punch out the ball.

IN OUR VIEW: As a glass-eating, run-stuffing middle linebacker, McMillan is perfectly suited to traditional Big Ten football and may post the gaudy numbers this fall to actually win the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker (like he did in high school). If he is to continue Ohio State's legacy of first-round defenders, however, McMillan must convince scouts that he possesses the speed and playmaking ability to remain on the field on all three downs.

--Rob Rang (@robrang), Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler), 9/20/16

 
 
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