Scout's Notebook: CB Marcus McCauley

The Vikings tabbed themselves a first-round talent in Fresno State cornerback Marcus McCauley in this April's draft. In early mini-camp sessions, he shows all the tools to eventually become a starting-caliber player in the NFL. In the meantime, it looks like he'll provide talented depth behind starters Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin. Here's a full scouting report…

#31, Marcus McCauley, CB
(6006, 203, 4.36-4.48) Fresno State

Personal:  Born Sept. 3, 1983.  Parents are Marcus, Sr. and Karla.  He has two brothers, Jordan and Michael, and a sister, Cambria.  He played running back, safety, wide receiver, cornerback and kick returner at Rancho Cordova (Calif.) High School, where he played for head coach Max Miller.  He helped his team advance to the Division II semifinals, earning all-city honors as a senior.  He was considered one of the Sacramento area's best all-around talents by the Sacramento Bee.  He also excelled as a basketball player.  Considers Packers’ cornerback Charles Woodson his favorite athlete.

College:  McCauley redshirted as a freshman (2002), choosing the Bulldogs over Oregon, Washington and California.  He played in all 14 games on special teams and nine on defense in 2003, recording 11 tackles and a pair of blocked kicks.  Started 10 of 12 games at weakside cornerback in 2004, posting 31 tackles, 3 tackles-for-loss, one sack, 3 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 8 pass breakups.  Had 45 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 FF, 7 PBU and one interception in 2005.  Opened his senior year (2006) as a starter, but suffered a concussion early in the year and eventually lost his starting spot late in the season, still posting 55 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 FF and 7 PBU.  Earned his college degree in sociology on May 19, 2007, posting a perfect 4.0 GPA in his final semester.

Vital Statistics:  Ran a 1.43 10-yard dash, 2.53 20-yard dash, posted a 36 ½-inch vertical jump, 10’-9” broad jump, 4.17 20-yard shuttle and a 6.61 3-cone drill time.  Was timed at 4.36-4.48 over forty yards.  Did 17 reps at 225 pounds.  Recorded a 365-pound bench press, 475-pound squat, 330-pound power clean and 324-pound hang clean.  Has 31 ¼-inch arms and 10 1/8-inch hands.  Right-handed.

Pro:  Third-round pick (72nd overall) by Vikings in 2007.

Positives:  Blue-chip physical talent for the position.  Has fine size, long arms, excellent speed, athleticism, fluid hips, quickness, burst and acceleration.  Can run stride-for-stride with elite receivers.  Lean, yet solidly built frame with the maneuverability of a smaller defender.  Good recovery speed and quickness.  Physical and aggressive.  Shows above-average ball skills and good instincts.  Good leaper.  Solid tackler who supports the run aggressively.  Has shown ability for both man or zone coverage.  Plays hard and physical but isn’t a jaw-flapper.  Works hard and is a student of the game.  Should contribute nicely on special teams early in his career.  Has blocked some kicks.  Smart with good character.

Negatives:  Lost his self-confidence as a senior and needs to develop a shorter memory.  Got caught peeking into the backfield at times and was more inconsistent than he’d been before the concussion.  Struggles with ball location with his back to the ball at times.  Still needs to develop his footwork and technique.  Drops some potential interceptions.

Summary:  His self-confidence and McCauley’s ability to respond to the coaching style of secondary coaches Joe Woods, Derek Mason and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will be the key to his success.  It would appear that the match will be mutually beneficial, as McCauley and Frazier are more low-key types.  He has all the physical tools to be a quality starter eventually in the NFL.  If everything falls into place, he could prove to be a real steal in the third round.

What they said:

“A big corner that can run, we put a premium on those guys.  Physical enough to stick a knife in a sweep, play bump and run, and hang on your hip and cover.  I think he was a 4.4 guy at the combine.  Mike Sholiton (Vikings area scout) knew a bunch about him and obviously Joe (Woods) and Leslie (Frazier) liked him a bunch, as did the rest of our scouts, and we're happy he was there.” – Brad Childress, Vikings’ Head Coach

“He is a kid who played really well in college, probably should have went in the first or been one of the top corners.  His senior year [he] did not play as well; Fresno State did not have a great year.  But you can still see the skills are still there, he just didn't play as well his senior year.  But I know, as coach mentioned, Mike Sholiton, one of our scouts over on the West Coast, was actually the recruiting coordinator at Fresno State and we felt real comfortable.  From a football standpoint you can see it, he showed up at the Senior Bowl.  But also some of the stuff that had happened out at Fresno State, some of the times you go through some tough years.  But this kid was high on our board, he was the top-rated guy on our board when we took him and we weren't going to pass up, especially a big corner like that.” – Rick Spielman, Vikings’ VP of Player Personnel

“Has a rare combination of size and speed and all the physical ability to be a great pro.  However, he needs to enter a situation with an encouraging position coach and learn to shorten his memory if he is ever going to reach his full potential.” – Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

“The Vikings like McCauley because he plays a physical style – something teams that play the Tampa-2 want from their corners – and also because of his ability on special teams.  He could get a chance to compete for a job in the nickel defense.” –

“There isn’t much more you can ask for physically out of a corner.  McCauley has it all.  He has very good size, and matches up very well with bigger wideouts.  His combination of height and jumping ability allow him to make plays on the ball with receivers a few inches taller.  He doesn’t give up anything to the smaller receivers either.  McCauley has the speed to keep up with any receiver well down the field.  He has a chance to be an all-around standout cornerback.” – Football’s Future

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