BALTIMORE, Md. – In an MIAA showdown between host Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) and McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), the visiting Eagles fell to the Gaels in double overtime, 36-33. TT was on hand to scout four-star McDonogh class of 2017 left tackle Jordan McNair, a prime Terps’ target.
Our take on his game is below, while an interview can be seen above:
An explosive, athletic tackle, McNair has a chance to be a stalwart blindside blocker at the next level.
Physically, McNair is a legitimate 6-feet-5, 290-pounds. He has a wide frame, a stout base, decent arm length and strong hands.
There’s plenty to like about McNair’s game, but, in particular, his initial burst stands out. The McDonogh tackle comes off the ball instantaneously, has a rapid-fire first step and quickly enters his stance. It’s difficult for opposing linemen to gain penetration, because McNair is often all over them before they can execute a move.
While firing forward on a run block, McNair has a quick thrust, jabbing his man underneath the pads with solid point-of-attack power. He typically stays low, using his base to generate power and push defenders back. McNair also keeps his feet pumping after contact, which helps him maintain ground and/or work his way up to the linebackers.Speaking of linebackers, McNair readily pushes into the second level. Sometimes, he’ll even finish guys off with a pancake. McNair is also athletic enough to run down the line, hit the edge and block out in space. He’s adept at locating defenders in the open and sealing them off so his backs can cut back.
When pass blocking, McNair displays proper fundamentals, keeping his back straight, getting his arms extended, and showing a smooth kick-slide. He doesn’t lunge for defensive linemen, either; he maintains balance and lets them come to him. It follows that McNair rarely lets defenders get into his body.
McNair’s punch is fairly potent too, stunting incoming edge rushers. He possesses violent hands, which allow him to anchor and turn his man.
The Eagles’ tackle is also flexible enough to shift his weight, readjusting to fast-fiber rushers. He holds the block well, actively jabbing while sliding the end past the pocket. On top of that, he has the short-area quicks to recover when beaten to the inside.
McNair is adept at identifying blitzing linebackers as well. He uses his athleticism, nimble feet and quickness to switch off the primary block and pick up sailing backer.
What’s more impressive is McNair’s ability to execute advanced techniques. McDonogh uses a somewhat complicated scheme compared to other high schools, so its linemen are asked to perform combo blocks; reach blocks; slide blocks and traps -- not to mention pull out in space. McNair doesn’t always have proper form on these college-level blocks (namely, his footwork can get out of whack), but more often then not his fundamentals are on-point.
To improve, McNair mainly needs to develop more overall power. While he can finish his man, and he does have a solid initial punch, we’d like to see him absolutely blow defenders back. When drive blocking, for example, sometimes McNair won’t generate as much of a push as he’s capable of.
Also, McNair has to work on his hand placement, especially in pass protection. Sometimes he strikes too high, or hits the outside shoulder instead of keeping his hands inside.
It would also behoove McNair to continue honing his footwork. He slides well and is reasonably deft, but once in awhile he’ll get crossed up or take the wrong step when shifting/readjusting.
Finally, McNair has to continue building his body (he has a little "bad weight") and getting stronger. That, above all, will allow him to become a top-level tackle, someone who can consistently finish and stalemate defenders.