Buccaneers Analysis: Matt McCoy

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Matt McCoy earlier this week to a contract. Why did the Buccaneers sign the journeyman linebacker? Find out more about McCoy, including comment from our Scout.com NFL Senior Reporter, Adam Caplan, inside.

Matt McCoy entered the NFL as a second-round pick in 2005 in Philadelphia, which means the Eagles saw him as a potential building block for the future. Chris Steuber, Scout.com's resident draft expert and publisher of warnest.com, our Eagles site, said the pick was a bit of a surprise to most in Philly.

"Personally, I thought he would have been a perfect strong safety at the next level, but the Eagles thought he was a perfect fit for weak side linebacker," Steuber said.

That "perfect fit" was anything but. McCoy reportedly had difficulty with defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's scheme in his rookie season and didn't play much. That changed in 2006 when McCoy won the weak side linebacker starting position, starting 10 games and notching 81 tackles and two sacks. But he suffered a shoulder injury in November and lost his job.

The Eagles released him last fall, days after McCoy incurred a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty call in a preseason game after a late hit on Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe. The penalty drew a strong rebuke by his teammates and coaches.

Steuber said that fit a pattern for McCoy throughout his career — taking bad penalties at critical times of a game.

The Saints signed him in November, but he played sparingly.

The former San Diego State star rose quickly through the draft ranks in 2005, thanks to excellent auditions for scouts and a 4.58 40-yard dash time.

But that never translated to the NFL, according to Scout.com's Senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan.

"McCoy is known as a speedy but undersized linebacker who seemed a bit lost in Philadelphia's defensive scheme," Caplan said.

McCoy (5-foot-11, 230 pounds) isn't quite as big as the player he'll back up, the legendary Derrick Brooks (6-foot, 235 pounds), and he likely won't challenge Brooks for a starting role. McCoy will be given the chance to challenge for a backup role and contribute heavily on special teams, but he'll get nothing more than that.

Steuber echoed that, saying that would likely be McCoy's role in any defense.

"He's an aggressive player who plays with high intensity, but at this point he's only a backup player who will play a role on special teams," Steuber said.

And, right now, the Bucs have plenty of those players. McCoy will have to fight to make this team.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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