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Lottery Tickets: Robert McCray

Indiana EDGE prospect Robert McCray could be a player to watch at training camp coming up in St. Joseph.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Lottery Tickets is a breakdown series of the lesser known players who have a chance to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 roster. Leading up to training camp, we’ll be profiling the intriguing undrafted free agents and reserve/future contract players that show the ability to potentially stick in the NFL. The players we discuss are high upside players that haven’t significantly affected the Chiefs bottom line, but the returns could be substantial.

Harold Landry was one of the more athletic EDGE prospects (based upon testing) in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Once considered a top-15 prospect, Landry would fall to the early second round due to health concerns.

At 6 feet 2 and 252 pounds, Landry ran a 4.64 sec. 40-yard dash, 6.88 sec. 3-cone drill, 4.19 sec. 20-yard shuttle and 11.35 sec. 60-yard shuttle.

Chiefs undrafted free agent EDGE prospect Robert McCray was not as highly regarded as Landry entering the draft. He split time both inside and outside on the defensive line at Indiana, possibly hurting his stock without a true position.

McCray is listed on the Chiefs roster at 6 feet 2, 280 pounds (Note: He was listed as 266 pounds at rookie minicamp). Despite being 28 pounds heavier than Landry, McCray ran a 4.65 sec. 40-yard dash, 6.88 sec. 3-cone drill, 4.19 sec. 20-yard shuttle and 11.44 sec. 60-yard shuttle at his pro day.

The athletic testing from that dense of an athlete is wildly impressive. Even if he slimmed down for the event, his testing is still right on par with Landry. The athletic traits that he possesses earned him a shot in the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp after he was not selected in the draft. That performance earned him a spot in training camp in St. Joseph next month.

McCray’s final year at Indiana saw him produce six sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. The Chiefs have listed him as an EDGE on their roster. He may get the chance to hone in primarily on the outside of defensive fronts.

For a man his size, he flashes off the edge.

McCray shows a good first step, flexibility in his ankles and hips to turn the corner on Jamarco Jones, a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. Jones tries to hit McCray with a hard club, but McCray gives him a dip and rip to keep himself clean from the club and then bends to the quarterback for a sack.

Even when he’s not winning off the edge, he’s shown the ability to adjust his plan and use his power to his advantage.

McCray is trying to set up a move outside, but Jones gets his hand into his chest before he can get into it. McCray, knowing he isn’t going to bend the edge, adjusts by planting his foot and taking a tight angle through Jones, nearly pushing him into the path of the quarterback. Regardless of whether he affected the throw, the ability to take the angle and generate power to move Jones was impressive.

McCray’s impressive power combined with his movement skills makes him someone that the Chiefs may consider worth developing.

McCray is coming on a long stunt from outside the right tackle around the left guard. After an initial step toward the tackle, McCray takes a tight, efficient loop around the left guard and to the quarterback. He showed good explosion to make the distance and flexibility in his hips and angles to turn a tight corner to get a clean hit on the quarterback.

WIth McCray’s density, he could be tough to move in the run game.

McCray is playing an inside shade on Jones.

He gets a good first step, gets leverage on Jones and drives with powerful hips. He locates the ball carrier and gets his left (strong) hand free to grab the running back, swing around to the right for a tackle while Jones falls off of him.

The bottom line

While the athletic traits are impressive, the overall body of work needs to grow in quantity and quality.

McCray is listed as an EDGE, and while he may have the ability to also kick inside at times in sub-rush situations, he’ll need to continue developing at that position.

The athletic traits of McCray are some of the more intriguing at the bottom of the roster with the flashes he has put on tape. He’ll need to develop consistency with his hand usage to be a contributor at the next level.

There is a lot to like about his skill set, but the readiness of those skills may keep him from active roster status in 2018. I do think he could be a prime candidate to place on the practice squad if he continues to show growth and improvement throughout this process.

If he gets reps as a practice squad player and takes to coaching, we could be having some different conversations in 2019.

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