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AMES, IA - OCTOBER 10: Defensive back Zech McPhearson #8 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates with teammate defensive back Thomas Leggett #16 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders after returning a blocked field goal attempt to score a touchdown in the first half of the play at Jack Trice Stadium on October 10, 2020 in Ames, Iowa.

The Eagles finally added a much-needed corner to their draft class. And the one they took seems to be a matter of much debate among draft experts. Zach McPherson is projected to go anywhere from the 3rd round on some boards to undrafted on others. Where does the truth fall? Let’s get to know the news new defensive back better.

Late Bloomer

McPhearson spent his first couple of years buried on the Penn State roster, struggling to find playing time. But when he transferred to Texas-Tech, he started to break out. His first year there he started all 12 games, made 51 tackles, and broke up 5 passes. He made an even bigger jump his senior year, with 4 interceptions in 9 starts, to go with six pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, and a TD. He also made the All-Big 12 team.

A background in baseball is said to contribute to his skills in tracking the ball. He didn’t have any interceptions until that final year. But to be fair, he didn’t play that much until that final year and showed a knack for breaking up passes the two years he did play.┬áHe is also said to have good instincts in general, and to plays heads-up smart football.

The drawback is he is a little bit short, being only 5’11”, and isn’t a good tackler. But he has good speed to be able to stick to guys at least and was not one to bite on moves. Another plus is the versatility he offers, which is fast becoming a trend in this draft for the Eagles. He has experience in both nickel and dime, inside and outside, and in man and zone. Being only a two-year starter though makes him a bit of an unknown.

In the little time he did play though, he managed to impress. He was top 5 in completion percentage allowed on 3rd downs. And he is one of the highest-graded outside corners by PFF, for what that is worth.

From an Athletic Family

McPhearson has a large family, and all of them played Football at some level. His dad Gerrick played DB at Boston College and for the Patriots. His brother Gerrick Jr. played at Maryland and for the Giants. Another brother Derrick played WR at Illinois and then spent some time in the Milwaukee Brewers Farm System. He also had brothers play at New Mexico, Texas Tech, Penn State, U Penn, and in the the Yankees Farm system. Plus his mother played in the National Women’s Football League as an RB. He also has a sister who played soccer at the collegiate level.

He hails from a family of athletes. That leads to one of his best attributes, his athletic profile. Now with all of this said, no one from his family has stuck long at any pro-level. But maybe he can be the first to stick on a roster long term.

What The Experts Think

Lance Zierlein- NFL Network

“Penn State transfer with two seasons as a starter at Texas Tech. McPhearson plays the position with good physicality in coverage, at the catch point and when it’s time to do his part in run support. His ball skills are on point and he does a good job of maintaining positioning once he’s there, but he has some issues anticipating route breaks and maintaining feel for the pattern from trail position in man coverage. He has decent play speed, but appears to lack the ups for jump-ball battles. He has the feet and competitiveness to potentially back up outside or inside and should compete for special teams reps early on.”

Jordan Reid- The Draft Network

“Primarily a zone coverage corner in the Red Raiders’ scheme, McPhearson showed glimpses of possibly being a scheme-versatile option as he was afforded the flexibility of being utilized as the team’s primary slot defender. A developmental option at the position, he provides scheme versatility, ball skills, and upside as down-the-line depth.”

Conclusion

McPhearson doesn’t scream star potential, but it’s rare to find stars in the 4th round. He showed enough at Texas Tech to think he may have what it takes to be a player at this level, and maybe even a starter one day. Daniel Jeremiah had him in his Top 100, and few other guys had him in the 4th round. So it’s good value, in a position of need. Will he blow Eagles fans away on day one? No. But he had enough potential to be worth a shot. Just don’t expect too much year one.