Isaiah McDuffie-LB-Boston College
6’1 1/4th 227lbs
McDuffie plays hard; he never quits on a play. He is a good athlete, and that shows on film. A well-built, physically strong player. The Boston College linebacker is also a really good tackler for his size; he will hang on for dear life. He contributed a lot to special teams at BC.
If he gets an open lane, he can fly off the edge and get in the backfield quickly. He has good hands. McDuffie has the athleticism to be a decent to good coverage linebacker. When he can read the play, he will fly in there and make a good tackle. He does a decent job of getting skinny, attacking the LOS, and getting in his gap.
He is a little undersized for a linebacker. His frame looks maxed out. His coverage skills are not good enough; he misses reads a lot of plays. His instincts in general are lacking, as he will hit the wrong gap at times. McDuffie struggles to get off blocks; even some running backs have been able to take him out.
He can be easily fooled by option plays. The sixth-round pick does not have much of an anchor to him; he got run over a few times. Good but not elite athlete, some offensive players were able to get to the edge on him. McDuffie will miss some tackles when he flies in out of control.
Initially, he came to Boston College as a safety, which gives off some Oren Burks vibes, to be honest. The difference between the two is that Burks has prototypical size and athleticism. While McDuffie is undersized and is just a little above average athlete, McDuffie though made the switch a lot sooner and looks more natural at linebacker than Burks.
The old saying applies to him, ‘he plays with his hair on fire’. He did line up occasionally on the edge at BC, but he’s probably not big enough, nor has he developed any pass rush moves that could be used at the next level. He could see some A gap or B gap blitzes. His coverage skills right now are not good enough to be trusted at the NFL level. If he plays from scrimmage early, it will probably be on obvious run downs or plays where his responsibilities are super simple.
There is still some untapped potential there with him if he can improve his coverage skills and improve his technique getting off blocks. He could play as a sub-package linebacker; the only issue still there are his instincts. Sometimes, that is just something that can not be taught, but that is ok. If all the Packers get out of him is a special teams demon, then they made out. If they actually get some contributions from scrimmage from him, then that is just icing on the cake.