So they picked the 26-year-old player in the fifth round Sunday, expecting him to provide depth in the middle and help on special teams.
''A lot of teams backed off him because of his age,'' Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. ''I really trust Dale [Lindsay's] judgment on linebackers. He had him rated much higher, so I feel good about that.''
McCune served in the U.S. Army for three years after high school, with a one-year stint in Korea and a six-month stay in Kuwait. He returned in 2000 to attend Louisville, where he was named All-Conference USA this past season. He led the Cardinals in tackles for the past two seasons.
McCune's story is easy to like. He enrolled in the Army because he wasn't being recruited by any Division I schools, and he couldn't afford to pay for school. After three years, he used the GI Bill to attend Louisville. And he chose the Cardinals because his cousin, receiver Tiger Jones, had just earned a scholarship there. His uncle, Anthony Jones, told the coaches about McCune.
He went to Louisville as a walk-on, but quickly became more than that, earning a scholarship after the first semester.
''Coach [John L.] Smith liked the way I flew around on special teams,'' McCune said. ''I came in playing special teams and worked my way up from there. . . I wasn't thinking about the NFL. I was just enjoying college football.''
If all goes well for the Redskins, then McCune would be the No. 3 middle linebacker behind Lemar Marshall and Mike Barrow. The latter is still recovering from a knee injury and is scheduled to undergo another MRI on May 6. That should tell the Redskins where he's at in his recovery and possibly determine a better timetable for his return.
They expect him to be cleared to start running and working out after May 6. Earlier MRI's have shown the problems could stem from ligament damage in his lower thigh.
Even if Barrow can't play, it's likely McCune will be limited to special teams.
''This guy is built,'' Gibbs said. ''He's the most impressive person you'll ever see.''
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