After the NFL Draft ends every year, the immediate scramble to sign undrafted free agents takes over, and 2012 was no different. In the madness, the Miami Dolphins signed Arkansas State safety Kelcie McCray. At the same time as the madness was happening, ESPN's Scouts, Inc. was ranking the top ten undrafted free agents, placing McCray on that list.
Atop the list was Washington running back Chris Polk, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Slotted in the second position was Troy guard/tackle James Brown, who is now a member of the Chicago Bears.
The third and fourth ranked UDFAs were both cornerbacks, Iowa State's Leonard Johnson and Virginia's Chase Minnifield. Johnson has since signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Minnifield is headed to the Washington Redskins.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins' signing of McCray brought them the seventh ranked UDFA. Of McCray, Scouts, Inc. writes:
"McCray is a flexible, smooth athlete who shows good range in coverage. However, lack of instincts and strength, along with inconsistent tackling in run support, caused him to slip down the board."
To get a better idea of what the Dolphins are getting in McCray, here are some scouting reports from before the draft about him:
Also played basketball and was a quarterback as a Georgia prep. Redshirted in 2007. Saw limited action in 12 games in '08 and posted 13 tackles, two pass breakups and zero interceptions with one forced fumble. Was the starting strong safety in all 12 games in '09, logging 58-4-4 with 4 1⁄2 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Posted 79-2-2 with one tackle for loss in 12 starts from his SS position in '10. A 13-game starter at strong safety in '11, he totaled 70-4-4 with 1 1⁄2 tackles for loss.
Nice length. Fluid, fast and athletic. Flexible hips and ankles for his size. Good balance and body control - demonstrates the ability to break down in space. Fits in the run game. Reliable tackler. Pedals under control and transitions smoothly. Can extend and snag interceptions away from his body. Three-year starter. Smart and dependable. Solid citizen.
Thinly built - needs to bulk up and get functionally stronger. Bench-pressed just 12 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine and does not generate pop on contact as a tackler. Average instincts and anticipation - breaks late off the hash. Mismatched vs. receivers in man coverage. Game lacks urgency and violence. Not an explosive athlete or impactful playmaker. Vertical leap (301⁄2 inches) was lowest amongst all defensive backs at the Combine.
Lean, high-cut, sinewy defender with good speed and tackling ability, though his skill set smears the line between strong and free safety. Instincts, play strength and dull suddenness limit his ceiling, but could provide depth and contribute on special teams.
OVERVIEW McCray is a big, physical safety from Arkansas State who could develop into a future starter in the NFL if put in the right scheme. A former high school quarterback, it is evident that McCray is able to key in on plays as a safety and make the pre-snap reads to put himself in a good position. He has the size to cover tight ends and the physicality to be a presence on the back end.
STRENGTHS McCray will bring a physical presence to any defensive backfield in the NFL. Somewhat reminiscent of Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, Kelcie can provide run support or play real effectively in the intermediate range when defending the pass. He excels in run support and is a physical, bruising tackler. He has great speed for the position to run plays down, and he has been durable and reliable throughout his career. He is a competitive hitter and looks natural in transition and in his backpedal. He has the ability to break on a ball and play the man competitively both at the point of attack and in the air.
WEAKNESSES McCray has pre-snap issues that affect his play and could hinder his development early on in the league. He has a tendency to stay in his back pedal for extended periods of time and will break late on plays; it's almost as if his feet are not coming with his eyes when he's diagnosing a play. He has the speed and athletic ability to catch up in the conference he's been playing in, but unless he can get his pre-snap reads down quicker and develop an ability to diagnose run or pass early, he could have an extended development phase.]
He does have some natural coverage ability for his size and runs very well for the position. There are some questions about desire as a tackler and instincts in the deep half. However, a guy at his size with his athleticism will get picked high at the safety position.
Draft Stock: 4th Round