Frustrating draft provided fuel for Rams' McGee
3 hours ago • By Joe Lyons
These days, Brandon McGee refers to his NFL draft day experience as his “fuel to the fire.’’
“I definitely expected to go earlier; I’d heard maybe third round,’’ the 22-year-old cornerback from the University of Miami recalled. “That Friday night, when the third round ended, I was pretty frustrated by the whole situation.
“So I grabbed my cleats and headed to the park for a workout.’’
The midnight training session by himself at Fort Lauderdale’s Carter Park featured running and some drill work.
“I just put my headphones on and went to work,’’ he said. “At that point, I just had to clear my head and vent a little bit.’’
McGee still admits to “having a chip on my shoulder’’ about not being drafted until the Rams made him a fifth-round selection (149th overall), but that is something with which he is learning to live.
“I’m glad I slipped to St. Louis; we have a great bunch of guys with a tremendous coaching staff,’’ he said. “It’s a blessing, honestly. I’m excited to be here and to be a Ram. I’m eager to learn and to prove myself.
“At this level, it doesn’t matter if you’re taken in the first round, the fifth round like myself or if you’re an undrafted free agent. The bottom line is that you’re here to work and show the team that you can compete. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”
McGee, who stands 5 feet 9 and weighs 193 pounds, was at cornerback and at the nickel spot as the Rams wrapped up rookie minicamp Saturday in Earth City and looked comfortable at both positions.
A lot of his one-on-one work Saturday came against fellow draft picks — first-round receiver Tavon Austin and third-rounder Stedman Bailey.
“That competition will help prepare me and them, too, for what we’re going to see on Sundays,’’ McGee said.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher was excited to pick up McGee in the draft and has not seen anything to temper that enthusiasm.
“Brandon is a smart young man,’’ the coach said. “He can really run, he’s got good size and change of direction. We’re seeing the kinds of things we saw on tape.’’
A highly touted two-way standout at Plantation High in Florida, McGee played in 10 Miami games as a freshman and made one start in 11 games during his sophomore season. He started his final 24 games with the Hurricanes, finishing his senior campaign with 54 tackles, two interceptions and a team-best seven pass breakups.
At Miami’s end-of-season banquet, he was honored with the Captain’s Award and the Plumer Award for leadership, motivation and spirit.
Following the season, the Hurricanes’ captain followed a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Game with a similarly solid effort at the NFL Scouting Combine, at which he turned in a 40 time of 4.39.
“I was actually kind of disappointed in the time, McGee said during a conference call following the draft. “I definitely wanted to run faster simply because I had been timed in the 4.2’s throughout college and all throughout training for the Combine.’’
McGee should contribute right away on special teams and should have every opportunity to work his way into the Rams’ cornerback mix quickly.
With Bradley Fletcher signing as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Rams have just four returning cornerbacks — Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson and Quinton Pointer — on the roster.
“It’s a great opportunity, one that I want to take advantage of,’’ he said. “Coming into camp I’d say I was more excited than nervous. For me, the biggest adjustment is learning and becoming comfortable with the terminology. But I’m eager to learn; I’m just trying to soak it all in.’’
McGee graduated from Miami in December with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration and a minor in entrepreneurship, fulfilling a promise to his mother, who died of breast cancer when he was in his early teens.
“It definitely forced me to grow up at an earlier age and take a lot of responsibility on myself,’’ he said on draft day. “It helped make me the man I am today.’’
Re: Frustrating draft provided fuel for Rams' McGee
Sounds like the eventual heir to Finnegan in the slot!