TCU Coach Gary Patterson on LeMarcus McDonald

LeMarcus McDonald surprisingly fell in the 2003 NFL Draft and he ended up falling right out of the Draft. The San Diego Chargers were quick to pounce on the undrafted free agent. What made him fall and who is this young linebacker? Chargers Update went to the source…<br><br> Coach Gary Patterson of TCU gives us the real story in a no holds barred interview.

Were you surprised he did not get drafted, I know I was.

"Yes I was but you know that is why I do not try and predict it. That is those guys business but there is so much luck and when and where. We ended up with eight guys, two drafted and six signed as free agents. It was a good group that won a lot of ball games for us."

What ultimately hurt his draft stock and sent him plummeting?

"I think he was (scouted heavily). One of the things that sometimes hurts a player is when they come out early. I don't know what the numbers or percentage is, but the guys that came out early, came out during the junior years and look how many did get drafted and how many did not. It's hard as an underclassman I think to come out in the draft.

"I wish him luck. He sure did a lot for TCU and our program. I hope that it all turns out well for him."

What attributes will make him stick with the Chargers this year?

"If he is put in a position where he can make plays. He is an instinct guy that is very hard to block. He'd be a great special team's player. He never played (the outside linebacker position). He is a guy who would be a great pass rusher. At least that was what he was here. I think he ended up with 12 sacks and 28 tackles for losses in his junior year here. If he can freelance a little bit, because the thing he was really great at here was he was a great blitzer. If they are going to use him to rush the passer, I would say that he would probably make a lot of plays."

LeMarcus McDonald was named All-Conference and Conference-USA defensive player of the year as a senior.

What kind of defense do you play at TCU?

"We are a 4-2-5. We can be a pressure team and because he was so good at that, we used him quite a bit. I think we ended up with 48 sacks this last year."

McDonald recorded 231 tackles (147 solos) with 161/2 sacks, 56 stops behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 236 yards, 7 quarterback pressures, 9 pass deflections, 4 forced fumbles and 5 fumble recoveries in a career spanning 34 games at TCU in that defense.

Did you use him on run blitzes as well?

"Yes we did. As you know he is not a huge linebacker. We tried to put him situations where he could be successful and make plays, and he did that."

At 6-1, 227 pounds, McDonald is considered undersized to play linebacker, and slow 40 times (in the 4.9-5.0 range) dropped him out of the draft despite getting as high as a fifth round projection by some draft experts.

How is his pass coverage?

"Good. He runs decently, even though his 40 times did not show it, but he is a guy who is a lot faster on the field then what he usually runs 40 times. He has always been that way."

McDonald does have one friend on the team already, TCU alum LaDainian Tomlinson. Now he needs to make some noise in camp and impress the coaches.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net or via the following link: Denis Savage


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