In this day and age of the NFL, baggage is seen as a risk not worth taking for most teams. Especially when it comes to players who weren’t exactly elite in college, off-field issues can be quite the turnoff.
That wasn’t the case for Stacy McGee, who landed with the Oakland Raiders this offseason as a sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma. Despite his stained history of off-field problems, Reggie McKenzie and Co. saw the 6’3’’, 308-pound defensive tackle as an acceptable risk.
McGee was a magnet for trouble during his days with the Sooners. From getting busted with marijuana to being arrested for DUI, the four-star high school prospect hasn’t quite lived up to his potential because he can’t stay on the field. He missed six games last season due to an undisclosed violation and was suspended for his final collegiate game because of an arrest. He seems a little anti-McKenzie, right?
The aforementioned potential is there, though.
With tremendous size and considerable athleticism, McGee has the raw upside to develop into a contributor in the NFL. Whether or not the Raiders can keep him walking a straight line is the biggest issue. If he can keep his head on straight and stay out of trouble, Oakland will be getting a quality defensive tackle.
Assuming the foot injury that forced him to miss his Pro Day is fully healed, McGee will have the opportunity to compete for a backup defensive tackle spot during Raiders training camp. With free agent acquisitions Vance Walker and Pat Sims likely to start, McGee will battle with Christo Bilukidi, Johnny Jones, Brandon Bair and Kurt Taufa’asau for a rotational role.
It’s still to be determined whether or not the Raiders’ gamble on McGee will pay off. They’ll get the first real glimpse during training camp, which could make or break the rookie’s future in Oakland.
The fact that McGee already made McKenzie a believer is a promising sign.