2004 NFL Draft Prospect: Derek McCoy

Derek McCoy has sat quietly in the background as the vaunted Colorado running game hits its stride year in and year out. Gliding by, he picks up the few pieces of rock thrown his way. Improving each step of the way, McCoy has somehow been packed away in a corner, despite his 6-3 frame. This year, McCoy enjoyed a coming out party and enters the 2004 NFL draft with a solid resume.

Derek McCoy lived during the true running days of Colorado, when All-American Chris Brown led the way with 1,744 yards in 2002. He was simply playing second fiddle and had to contend with less balls sent his way each year than at other programs.

Through it all, McCoy took his role with pride and made the most of it. Oddly enough, it may help him in his future career in the NFL.

Where the help comes into play is his blocking ability – so far advanced from what any other college receiver will be able to show.

"That is one of the things that is going to give me the edge over some guys – my blocking ability."

Is he upset, not a chance, but does he think he could have done more? What player doesn't?

"Definitely," McCoy said. "I have been a blocking receiver for two years straight and I feel like I could have done a lot of things that I did this year, but I really didn't get an opportunity to do those things because of the running game."

Then, a funny thing happened on the way to Folsom Field. The Buffaloes started to throw the ball more and McCoy shined.

The top rusher in 2003 had just 810 yards, a number McCoy bested. Forming a two-headed receiving tandem with DJ Hackett, McCoy caught 63 balls for 883 yards. He also added a team high 11 touchdown receptions and caught the longest pass of the year, 82 yards, for the Buffaloes.

Up from the shadows.

Waiting in the wings on a yearly basis, McCoy could have griped about it and been lazy. Instead he instilled an offseason program that has elevated his play each season.

"Really, just a lot of work in the offseason and getting the coaches' confidence in me and getting a lot of work with the quarterbacks," says McCoy. "I feel like I have made a lot of progress on my route running over the years. I got a new coach this year and he helped me getting out of my breaks better than I used to and just getting the DBs out of their backpedal quicker. I feel like I have progressed a lot."

And the numbers back up his claims. McCoy has improved upon his receptions, yards and touchdowns each year since 2001. And now, he prepares for another tough challenge.

He admits there are a lot of talented receivers in this year's draft, but isn't dissuaded.

"It hurts me in the draft, but not in the long run. In the long run I am still going to be able to become a great player."

It started this past week at the Indianapolis combines. McCoy spent his days training to do the best he can at the annual event. His college career is one side of the story, and then he had to back it up on the combine field. His main concern is running well – a sometimes-overexposed drill to determine a prospects status.

"Last year I ran a 4.51 and out here I have been timed faster than that and I plan on doing even better than that at the combines. I just want to run a 4.4-something out there," McCoy said just prior to the combines.

Unfortunately, McCoy ran a 4.71 and 4.69 according to a consensus of scouts timing the event.

A healthy three-year career did most of the talking and the icing on the cake is all that is left. He may have to show that on his Pro Day after what McCoy would term a disappointing performance.

Scouts have watched film, they know the talent McCoy possesses, but tangible numbers sometimes put a player to the forefront. There is more than just the combines, and McCoy has a plan for that as well.

"I want to show my ability to catch the ball and show them that I have some speed," said McCoy of his Pro Day.

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