Jerick McKinnon is a 5’9", 209 pound workhorse from Georgia Southern University. He was recruited as a DB, and played at that position his freshman year. During his sophomore year, he was used at all positions, starting 7 of 13 games. He was able to run, throw, and catch a touchdown that year, and had 9 total TDs. He also intercepted 2 passes. By junior year, he was put in as the flexbone QB, and blew everyone away. He finished as a First Team All-American, 20 rushing TDs, 1,817 rushing yards (269 attempts), and averaged 129 yards on the ground per game. In his senior year, he started out as QB, but an ankle injury put him on the sidelines for a couple of games, and never recovered to 100% by seasons end. During his injury, Georgia Southern’s running back corp took a beating, and lost 2/3 of its starting rotation. McKinnon was thrown in to play both B-Back and A-Back and excelled, despite injury. He finished with 1,050 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs, with a 6.9 YPC average. Oh and in case you’re worried about his ability to compete with higher talent, he finished with 109 yards on 19 carries with 2 TDs and a 5.7 YPC average against UGA in 2012, and 125 yards, 1 TD, and a 13.9 YPC average on 9 carries against the Florida Gators this past season.
I’m sure most of you have heard about his impressive combine, but just how good of a performance was it? The Wall Street Journal crunched the numbers of every player, at every position of the combine, and concluded that no other combine participant at running back or any other position, had a better combine than Jerick McKinnon. Here’s a look at his numbers:
40 Yard Dash: 4.41 Seconds (2nd)
Bench Press: 32 reps (1st)
Vertical: 40.5 (2nd)
Broad Jump: 132 feet (2nd)
3-Cone Drill: 6.83 (3rd)
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.12 (4th)
60- Yard Shuttle: DNP
Now there is so much more to a player than combine numbers. But his numbers and statistics in college and the fact that was able to excel at 4 different positions speaks volumes to his talent. Also, one of the most important things, is he is one of the most humble people you will ever talk to. To him, it is always team first, and he openly says he will do anything and everything the coach wants him to do. He had said that that was one of the things that really impressed coaches in his interviews, was his willingness to play wherever the team needs him most.
Mike Mayock had him graded as a 5.24 (backup or special teams potential) and said that he was a "practice squad candidate" BEFORE the combine. However, afterwards, Mayock listed him as one of his top 3 combine winners and said that Jerick improved his draft stock tremendously (however, no one’s grades nor pros or cons are changed after the combine). Now RB is in no way a major need for Atlanta, and I’ve seen his projections from as high as the 3rd and as low as the 7th. But, If we have addressed the FS position, and both lines by the 5th round and McKinnon is still there, I would absolutely love to have him on this team.
Here’s his 2013 highlights below, go to around 1:20 to start seeing the long runs being broken off.