Scouting Report: Onterio McCalebb, RB-WR, Auburn

By: Pete Davidson : April 24, 2013 3:25am

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With all the love that West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is getting from the draftniks and the media, I have to say that we’re surprised how little attention Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb is receiving. No, he is not in Austin’s class at this time, because he lacks the route-running skills and the insane cutting ability that Austin has. Nevertheless, if you are looking for an Austin-type talent to develop, McCalebb could be your guy. And, you can get him late in the draft by most accounts.

Much like Russell Wilson in 2012, this player is not being taken seriously because of his size, but if you are looking for a dangerous slot option, they don’t come much better in terms of raw assets. Onterio is immensely talented.

Again, as we told you with Wilson last year, remember to look at the positives and not just the lack of size.

  • Speed. Onterio can fly and posted a stunning 4.34 forty at the combine.
  • Quickness. Though he doesn’t cut quite as tightly as Austin, he can break plenty of ankles in his own right. If you get him the ball in space, he is very dangerous.
  • Athleticism. McCalebb played tailback primarily at Auburn, and, though he projects as a receiver at the next level, we see him being able to do some of things we’ve seen Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb do. He’s a chess piece.
  • He is smooth as a receiver and shows good hands on tape.
  • Should be able to get off the line in the NFL by using his quickness.
  • He has outstanding ability as a kick returner.

Speed kills, folks. Even at 170 pounds, McCalebb is a potentially lethal slot option which is where we project him to play.

In NFL of the future, players will play fewer snaps to limit head injuries. The way you are allowed to hit receivers has changed in recent years and we are not going back. Smaller faster players like McCalebb, once too small to play from scrimmage, are now becoming legit options. Because he is probably looking at a position change, we see him as a developmental player, but his play-making ability makes him a player to know for those who play in long term leagues.

It would take a lot for McCalebb to get meaningful snaps as a rookie, but he is a player to keep an eye on. We’re excited to see where he goes and if he is drafted. My guess is that Carolina drafts him late.

I’ll be back with another player tomorrow.

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