When it comes to making an NFL roster or being cut, sometimes it boils down to can the player help out on special teams.
Russell Shepard played seven years in the NFL and made his name as a special teams ace for the Bucs, Giants, and Panthers. Russell Gage was picked in the sixth round of the 2018 draft and has worked his way up from a gunner to a reliable number three option for the Falcons. Even James Wright had a brief stint in the league because of, you guessed it, special teams.
Racey McMath is hoping he can follow in the footsteps of those former Tigers.
Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 6’2” 1/2
Arm Length: 32
Hand Size: 8 7/8
Broad Jump: 10’4”
Vertical Jump: 34
40-yard Dash: 4.34
2020 Stats: 14 receptions, 195 yards, 1 touchdown (six games)
It’s hard to gauge McMath the wide receiver. McMath caught 33 passes in his four years on campus. The 2020 season was supposed to be his moment but a hamstring injury against Arkansas ended his year after only six games.
I wrote yesterday that Terrace Marshall has the size NFL teams covet in a wide receiver. Well McMath is just as tall as Marshall with a bit more mass and has better straight line speed than Marshall. In fact Ed Orgeron said if McMath, Marshall, Ja’Marr Chase, and Justin Jefferson all raced, McMath would win.
But what good is all that speed if it doesn’t translate to the receiver position? He’s far from polished as a route runner and despite his massive frame he can be bullied at the line by corners. And while he has excellent straight line speed, he’s slow getting in and out of his breaks.
If McMath wants to make an NFL roster, he’ll have to continue to be excellent on special teams. LSU credits him with six special teams tackles and a forced fumble for his career so he could be an excellent gunner like New England’s Matthew Slater or former New Orlean Saint/current New York Jet Justin Hardee.
LSU has built a compelling case to be considered Wide Receiver U. It’s produced quality and more importantly quantity. For every first round pick like Justin Jefferson, Odell Beckham, or Ja’Marr Chase LSU also has late round picks who go on to enjoy productive careers like Russell Sheppard and Russell Gage.
Racey McMath may not hear his name called early, but he’s the kind of player that can stick on an NFL roster.