That meeting turned into an offer when McCarty went undrafted. What was said during the meeting that made the tight end from TCU so comfortable?
"It was just that he liked the way I played and different things, but I just felt from the conversation that if I come out here and worked hard to get better, good things will happen," explained McCarty. "I still have a lot to learn about the game. That's what I want to do—get better and learn from Coach Chudzinski, who's coached a lot of great players. I want to learn the intricacies of the NFL game."
Coach Chudzinski has been teaching the elite tight ends for years. He was in Miami when Jeremy Shockey became an All-American and he helped mold the game of Kellen Winslow. Prior to that he also was instrumental in making Bubba Franks a top-notch tight end. All three were first round picks in the NFL Draft.
Those impressive credentials were enough to sway McCarty to San Diego.
It is no surprise that undrafted free agents also check the roster they are about to join. While Antonio Gates may be an untouchable, there is room in San Diego. Justin Peelle is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the year and that could open the door for a blocking tight end.
McCarty admits that his game needs all-around refinement but he believes he can be an extension of the offensive line as a blocker.
As a former quarterback and defensive end, he knows the nuances of the defender he is matched up against and is well versed in reading the defense as a whole.
"I think that helped me at tight end as far as the passing game at TCU, because I was really an offensive lineman," he said. "I could tell who was gonna pick me up—I knew what to look for, as far as things like that: the safeties and linebackers and reading what they're gonna do."
What makes him think that blocking will be an asset to him in the NFL ranks?
"I think it's using my strength with the proper technique, refining my techniques and using the strength that I have," the 6-foot-4, 260 pound tight end said.
McCarty also brings credentials as a receiver. Although he only caught 39 passes in his career for 636 yards and four touchdowns during his college career and 17 as a senior, he stretched the defense with an 18 yard per reception average.
After a sporadic senior year that labeled him as someone who did not finish off blocks, McCarty was invited to the Senior Bowl and had a great week of practice against the elite in college football. He was dominant at the point and sprung many a ball carrier free. He also showed the ability to catch the ball well, a fact his coaches at TCU knew, praising him for his soft hands.
McCarty has a chance in San Diego to make the roster, or more precisely the practice squad. A year of learning behind players like Gates and Peelle could set him up for a roster spot and a role as a blocker who can provide some tough catches in the future.
One thing is certain, he is looking forward to watching Gates work day in and day out.
"I think he's a great route-runner," McCarty admitted. "He knows how to get open. I hope to learn that aspect from him. He's real good with his hands, keeping people off of him. It's important when you're running routes and trying to get open, using your hands, and hopefully I can learn a lot of that from him."