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Scouting Report: New TE Has Impressive Traits, Needs To Improve As A Blocker
Name: M.J. McFarland
Position: Tight End
College: Texas El-Paso
Draft: Undrafted in 2016; Spent time with Philadelphia and the New York Jets
Report: McFarland was a highly-recruited player that started his career at the University of Texas, then transferred to UTEP. He was in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles last season but was unable to land on their roster. The Cowboys signed him as a tryout player after the rookie minicamp on May 16.
The main thing I noticed is that McFarland is a competitive player on tape, but he doesn’t play with the power that you would expect from his size. His initial quickness is good but his playing speed is not. He is all arms and legs in the way he moves -- not much burst or acceleration. It takes him time to get up the field but I wouldn’t call him slow. There is some lateral quickness going across the field but not up the field. Doesn’t have much vertical separation. He gets away from his man more with effort than speed.
McFarland plays with limited body control and balance. His lack of power and upper body strength hurts him in his ability to stay with his block. This is more of a “get in the way” blocker than one who is going to put his nose in there and get movement. Because of this, he tends to be one shot, then off. He doesn’t change direction all that well -- but he’s not stiff moving, either.
As a receiver, he does a nice job of reacting to the ball. There were some snaps on tape and during the camp where he double-caught the ball but managed to make it work. He was able to make the contested catch but not much after it. The majority of his routes were underneath, but he caught the ball down the field against air.
I didn’t see him used as a pass blocker but did see him used as a blocker on the move and was really nothing special. Was able to show some good things catching the ball during camp, which caught my attention. Read