Oakland Raiders rookie defensive tackle Stacy McGee tumbled down to the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft due to DUI and marijuana arrests while starring for the Oklahoma Sooners in college, and the character concerns on McGee created a palpable fear in front offices. But the Raiders were willing to take a gamble on McGee, and they didn’t seem nearly as concerned about McGee’s arrests as other teams. In fact, head coach Dennis Allen spoke with McGee frequently, and the Raiders were confident that McGee had matured enough to put those issues past him and focus on what’s really important. It’s a good thing he hasn’t had an incident to this point and has only impressed, because his track record put him on a short leash.
McGee has always had plenty of talent, though, and the Raiders risk is paying off right now. The sixth-round rookie received his first start in last week’s game against the Houston Texans, and he rewarded the Raiders by playing his best game of the season. Not only was McGee as solid as usual against the run, but he also had a crucial hit on Texans second-year QB Case Keenum. In fact, his hit on Keenum led to an interception for linebacker Nick Roach, so it was an incredible moment for the rookie out of Oklahoma.
Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver certainly took notice of McGee’s play on Sunday, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur, ”The interception that Nick Roach had, the two guards went to block our other guys so (McGee) had a one-on-one and he got by the center and he caused that interception. That was a big-time play in that game. Stacy had a few really good plays in that game.”
It was certainly a huge play for the rookie, and hopefully we’ll see more of the same out of McGee as the season wears on. While the best rookie with the name “Stacy” is St. Louis Rams running back “Zac”, the Raiders defensive tackle with “Stacy” as his first name has shown flashes of brilliance. Not bad for a sixth-round rookie. Per Tafur, McGee stated that his issues are, “in the past,” and hopefully they stay buried in the past.
Tarver also said of McGee, ”He’s getting better when he leads with his hands and comes out of his stance; he has long arms and he’s powerful. He’s starting to learn how powerful he is and as he continues to stay in his technique, he’s starting to do more and more things every week.”
With McGee, the upside is undeniable.