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Thread: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select T.J. MCDONALD (S, USC)

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    NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select T.J. MCDONALD (S, USC)

    Overview

    McDonald has spent his football life trying to live up to the name his father made for himself as an All-American safety at USC in the mid-1980s and 13-year NFL veteran who won a Super Bowl as a member of the San Francisco ***** in 1994. T.J. (stands for Tim, Jr.) has never shied away from that pressure, however, earning his own accolades over the past couple of seasons. McDonald’s brother, Tevin, is a true sophomore safety who enrolled at crosstown rival UCLA instead of following his dad and brother as Trojans.


    The high school All-American (Tim, Sr. was his head coach at Edison High in Fresno) didn’t get a chance to star because of the team’s deep secondary his true freshman year, but he did play in every game as a reserve and on special teams. The departure of Taylor Mays, however, gave McDonald a chance to fill the leadership and production void as a sophomore. League coaches named him second-team All-Pac-10 in 2010 after he led USC with 89 tackles while also posting three interceptions and four pass breakups. McDonald missed the team’s season finale against UCLA with a right shoulder injury. Multiple media outlets named McDonald to their All-American teams after he started 11 of 12 games in his junior year, missing the first half of the Colorado game for a big hit against to “defenseless” Stanford receiver Chris Owusu the previous week. The 2011 first-team all-conference pick had 67 tackles and three interceptions on the year, and his second career blocked punt helped the team beat Oregon in Eugene. McDonald and the Trojans entered the season with National Championship expectations, but stumbled to a six-loss season with the defense playing particularly bad football down the stretch. McDonald moved into more of a hybrid linebacker/safety role for USC, setting a career high in tackles (112) and tackles for loss (6.5). He also recorded a sack, deflected five passes, and nabbed two interceptions on his way to second-team All-Conference honors.


    Analysis

    Strengths
    NFL bloodlines with pro size and length who has played deep and in the box. Hits like a missile in the middle of the field, uses his shoulder to bring real power into the back or midsection of receivers with closing speed and tenacity. Solid ball skills, looks high and wide passes into his hands and can get down to get his hands under low throws. Physical presence around the line, sticks his head into short-yardage plays and uses his length to stay off lineman blocks and to wrap up running backs in traffic and receivers in the flat. Attacks the alley aggressively when coming downhill from two-high coverages. Does a good job fighting through blocks and making tackles on screens. Tries to lay the kill shot on wide receivers over the middle, but generally a good form tackler against running backs. Height and size come in handy on jump ball situations. Will be a factor on special teams, both using his length on the kick block team and as a strong tackler on coverage units.

    Weaknesses
    Will be pegged as a pure in-the-box safety. Protected in coverage by being used extensively as a Robber his senior season. Linear, high-cut player who is tall in his back pedals. Displays stiff hips, average change-of-direction ability and burst. His height and average short-area quickness become an issue when trying to break down quickly to make tackles in space, can be eluded in the open field by quicker receivers and running backs. Also lacks flexibility to turn-and-run with better receivers and tight ends. Does not have the range to get to the sideline, even sometimes to the hash, in single-high looks. Stares into the backfield, gets frozen and fooled by play action, loses receivers behind him, and takes time to recover after a false step.

    NFL Comparison
    Bernard Pollard

    Bottom Line
    The son of NFL Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald and brother of UCLA safety Tevin earned All-American recognition for his big hits and hands in coverage (six interceptions in 2010-2011). However, his lack of agility and instincts could limit his ability to be a reliable starting contributor in a league that is becoming more wide-open. He will probably be best served as a sub-package defender who plays near the line of scrimmage.


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    Great 3rd round pick

    as a Trojan fan I've seen T.J. play he's a hard hitter. BEAST
    citr92 likes this.

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    Different pick, that's for sure. McDonald is going to be excellent in the box, and will take your head off, but outside of that he doesn't offer much. Limited range, bad hips. He is massive at 6'2 though. Hopefully Fisher and Chuck Cecil can turn this guy into an absolute beast.
    RealRam likes this.


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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    NFLN's Albert Breer on Twitter: "TJ McDonald a solid, solid pick for the Rams. Had a bad 2012 season. But had he come out last year, may have been 2nd or 3rd safety taken."

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    Re: Great 3rd round pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Jjigga3000 View Post
    As a Trojan fan I've seen T.J. play he's a hard hitter. BEAST
    Good size, and, you say good hitter? Good enough for me!

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    Doesn't sound like our new center fielder.
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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    I'm assuming he is primarily a strong safety based on his heavy hitting and limited range described in the original post?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Doesn't sound like our new center fielder.
    No... almost like having an extra LB on the field. I won't be surprised if we see another safety today.

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    He doesn't have to be great, just better than Craig Dahl. ; )
    UK Ramfan 83 and ZiaRam like this.

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    Well, we needed a safety (or two) and Fisher took one. I am not knowledgeable enough to evaluate him vs the other safeties, but i have no problem deferring to Fisher's expertise in this area (former nfl db himself). I agree with Av, i won't be surprised if we take another safety as well.

    ramming speed to all

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    TJ -- Terminator Justice. Definitely sounds / looks like an upgrade!.

    Has a 'hitman' reputation. Hmm, looks like a young Aeneas Williams.


    Welcome TJ McDonald!

    Last edited by RealRam; -04-26-2013 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Aeneas W.

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    Re: Great 3rd round pick

    I love the TJ pick, but I think I would have preferred a more ball-hawking centerfield type Safety like Phillip Thomas

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    Not sure about this one.

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    Re: Great 3rd round pick

    Got us a nice fat D+ from CBS Sportsline... The only one in round 3 so far... Cant believe thy passed on Rambo here...
    ZiaRam likes this.

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    Re: NFL DRAFT: With 71st pick, Rams select safety T.J. McDonald (USC)

    From Rotoworld...

    Rams selected USC SS T.J. McDonald with the No. 71 overall pick.

    McDonald (6-foot-2 1/2, 219) is the latest in a long line of big, athletic USC safeties with suspect cover skills. Taylor Mays and Darnell Bing came before him. The son of six-time Pro Bowler Tim McDonald, T.J. started 36 college games, recording eight interceptions and 12 tackles for loss. He ran 4.59 at the Combine with a 40-inch vertical and 10-foot-11 broad jump. McDonald is long on athleticism, but was just as long on missed tackles in 2012, taking too many bad angles. He's a strong safety-only who will need to be covered up by the scheme. The Rams have holes at both safety spots, so he could see significant snaps as a rookie.

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