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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: CB Franklin McCain III

  • The Draft Network
  • February 1, 2021
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The hometown product out of Greensboro, North Carolina burst onto the scene as a consistent corner during his first two seasons for the Aggies, but he suffered a torn ACL (left knee) as a redshirt sophomore. Prior to that point, he recorded an impressive 16 pass breakups and eight interceptions that included four that were returned for touchdowns. 

The standout corner was the defensive MVP of the 2017 Celebration Bowl, but wasn't able to play in the 2018 game. Demonstrating caution and not returning until he was fully ready, the former two-time All-American returned during the fourth game of the 2019 season against Delaware State. Despite missing the first three games of the season, he went on to finish as a Second-Team All-MEAC selection. Still searching to return to his old self, McCain III was at one point labeled as being one of the better FCS defenders in the country. McCain III is a long press-man corner that shows little respect for matchups opposite of him. He enjoyed getting his hands on targets quickly and being able to mirror them smoothly. McCain III shows lots of hip mobility and has the awareness to sink his hips to mirror the opposition. Route anticipation and having the football IQ to anticipate patterns is another area that stands out in his game.

During the latter half of the season, McCain III still looked a step slow as he was looking to return back to his pre-injury form. Teams were also able to take advantage of his aggressive nature by utilizing double moves and multi-step routes into his zone. Understanding when teams were trying to attack him vertically with these types of routes is still an area that’s foreign to him and many are waiting to see if he can piece together glimpses of what was shown during the earlier stages of his career.

Ideal Role: Developmental CB that will need time on the practice squad to develop better technique, gain weight, and ensure health from a prior injury sustained (torn ACL).

Scheme Fit: Cover 1 press-man scheme.


Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Delaware State (2019), Norfolk State (2019), Florida A&M (2019), South Carolina State (2019), Alcorn State (2019, Celebration Bowl)

Best Game Studied: Norfolk State (2019)

Worst Game Studied: Alcorn State (2019, Celebration Bowl)

Man Coverage Skills: McCain is an active and stingy press-man corner that isn’t shy about getting in the face of matchups. Busy with his jam hands and patient in his technique, he’s keen on keeping his shoulders square to the hips of the target that he’s guarding. Attempting to get hands on with his inside hand often, he gives them a violent stab to their shoulder pad. Accurate with his locations, his technique to then enter phase is a smooth transition. The biggest area of improvement that McCain III will need to make is the grabbiness at the top of routes. He can panic a bit and immediately opt to grab instead of trusting his technique to reposition himself back into plays.

Zone Coverage Skills: While in zone coverage, McCain III was given a lot free reign. He was afforded lots of opportunities to remain hesitant in his pedal and drive downhill on routes. Quick game patterns were dangerous in his areas as he takes advantage of QBs that are known to telegraph passes. His ability to click-close on balls thrown in front of him is well above average. There’s little wasted motion when coming forward to have an effect on passes. 

Ball Skills: One of the better turnover-creators in the country prior to his injury, he was responsible for four pick-sixes during his career. He’s not only known as a prospect that can create those turnovers, but there’s the threat of him taking it the distance as well. When not able to finish plays with turnovers, he’s physical in route stems prior to attacking the ball out of the air. 

Tackling: McCain III embraces the process as a tackler as he’s fearless with coming downhill and wrapping up ball-carriers. Although he can be a bit of an ankle-biter as he tends to go low on tackles, he doesn’t mind giving his body up in order to make tackles. He needs to be a bit more consistent with his techniques, but there’s little thought about the physical portions of doing so.

Versatility: During his time with the Aggies, McCain III has always been an outside boundary corner. There are minimal glimpses of him playing inside or as the nickel. He has always been an outside corner responsible for the short side of the field. As he continues to venture from the injury, he may be an option to gain experience inside. 

Competitive Toughness: A big talker at the position, he isn’t shy about holding his words back. McCain III has plenty of competitiveness that jumps out on tape. He’s a corner that plays the game with plenty of confidence. As the season progressed, it was evident that some of the pre-injury confidence started to return for him. Early on, during his return, he was a bit hesitant and second guessing himself for obvious reasons.

Functional Athleticism: With lots of twitch in his body, McCain III made easy transitions in and out of phase. With adequate hips and plant-drive ability back downhill, his functional athleticism passed the test. He began to regain that form during the latter half of the 2019 season, but not quite to the clip that we saw during his earlier form.

Football IQ: Route recognition and closing speed are two of the better aspects of his game overall. McCain III was well above average with recognizing route concepts and then attacking them full speed. As a result, he was able to affect throwing windows that eventually led to him creating turnovers. 

Run Defending: His willingness as a run defender has improved over time. Early on during his career, he was a bit cautious with mixing it up and getting involved as a run defender. Over the past two seasons, he’s become much more willing and consistent in his approach. There are lots of examples of where he’s quick to click-close and pull the trigger on runs headed in his direction.

Length: A bit of a longer corner, he has long arms that he uses well at the line of scrimmage and in route stems. They remain active and have been a nuisance to targets on the perimeter. His length has been the biggest attribute that has led to him causing so many turnovers as he can quickly slam shut throwing windows. McCain III must continue to add weight as his top half has plenty of capacity to add more mass overall. 


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Jordan Reid: 69/100

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