First and foremost, it’s important to note why he was signed to the active roster. The 16-man practice squad was full and the rules introduced last year allow teams to move two players per week from the practice squad to the active roster without needing to create an additional roster spot, making a temporary 55-man unit.
The Eagles had a vacant spot on the 53 and were able to sign McCain, meaning that if they place him on the practice squad after these promotions, he’ll be able to do so without moving through waivers. This means that the team could theoretically call up a protected player and move the developmental DB down to the practice squad for a week, without needing to cut a name they’re keen to develop in order to make room for his arrival. This gives them time to work out how they want to structure the CB position and some added flexibility.
Getting to know Mac McCain
McCain played his college ball at North Carolina A&T and went undrafted this year. At 6’0, 175 lbs, he started every game he played in across three seasons with the Aggies.
Prior to a heartbreaking ACL tear in 2018, McCain looked set to become one of the best CB’s in FCS. His ball production was absolutely outstanding. In 20 career games, McCain amassed 113 tackles, 8 picks, 22 passes defended, and scored 4 defensive touchdowns. Despite his smaller frame, he spent most of his time on the outside and is twitchy enough to hold his own.
At his pro day, McCain registered a 35.5-inch vertical and a 4.48 40-yard dash. There’s always the concern that an FCS product will struggle to adapt to the NFL level, and the fact that McCain missed the 2020 season due to COVID only makes that Mountain higher to climb. However, he had a pretty strong offseason in Denver and was able to sneak onto their practice squad until the Eagles poached him.
With a relatively tame Athletic profile and a strong background of ball production, it will be intriguing to see if the Eagles are able to turn McCain into the next Cre’Von LeBlanc. He’s young, raw, and clearly has a nose for the football, which is exactly the kind of player suited to the Jonathan Gannon school of defense.
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