The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a good draft full of promising young players. However, there may not be a more interesting prospect in this group than Zyon McCollum. The small school corner was a big time winner at the NFL combine to the point where the Buccaneers traded a future pick to get him in this draft.
Of course a good workout doesn’t always mean a good player on the field. We have seen incredible athletes fail time and time again. So the question is, what should we expect from McCollum?
I dig deep and found some film to watch and here is what I found when evaluating McCollum on the field.
Games watched: Montana State 2021, Northern Arizona 2021, Incarnate Word 2021
The first thing that pops out about McCollum is his incredible athletic ability. He is incredibly fluid for a man of his impressive 6’2 and 200 lbs size. This is the rare movement ability that gives him the potential to be a true lock down corner as McCollum can run with anybody and stay right on their hip.
Part of being able to run with anybody is being able to run really really fast. McCollum showed he could do that at the NFL combine when he ran a blazing 4.33 40 yard dash. I’m here to tell you that this is much more than workout speed.
McCollum makes things look effortless. He glides down the field as he runs stride for stride with opponents. When these type of workout numbers align with what they did on the field in college then it usually translates well to the NFL.
When a player comes from a smaller school there’s always the question of how he will adjust to the next level. Coming from Sam Houston State, McCollum certainly would fall under this category. His transition from college to the pros will be as big of a leap as it gets.
Coming into a bigger, faster, stronger league McCollum won’t be able to dominate with athletic ability alone. He has great size, but he’ll have to cover big pass catchers like DeAndre Hopkins or Drake London. He has great speed, but he’ll have to keep up with Tyreek Hill or DK Metcalf. There will be growing pains.
This means that McCollum will have to improve his technique. Things like pressing at the line of scrimmage or looking for the ball in the air could be better. This is not to say he’s raw, but McCollum just hasn’t been able to fine tune those skills against this type of competition. Only time and practice can improve this.
There’s a lot to like about McCollum. He’s an incredible athlete and is a more polished player than I expected. There’s ever reason to believe that he could turn into a legitimate part of this team’s future.
With that said, he will take time. He’s probably not ready to come in and contribute year one outside of a special teams role. McCollum needs more experience against higher level competition before i can feel comfortable with him on the field.
Playing as a special team player can ease him into the speed and physicality of the NFL game. McCollum can thrive on kick coverage with his physical gifts. I’d expect him to thrive in this role as a rookie and potentially compete for a starting job next season.
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