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June 08, 2021

Eagles rookie NFL player comparisons: Zech McPhearson

Eagles NFL

During this semi-dead period of the offseason, we'll be comparing each of the Philadelphia Eagles' rookies to current or former NFL players. Today we'll find a comp for fourth-round cornerback Zech McPhearson.

Previous player comp profiles

DeVonta Smith • Landon Dickerson • Milton Williams

McPhearson originally enrolled at Penn State, didn't play much there, and transferred to Texas Tech, where he was a two-year starter. In 2020, he had a productive season in which he showed good ball skills, collecting 53 tackles, 4 INTs (including a pick six), and 6 pass breakups.

At 5'11, 191 pounds, McPhearson is slightly undersized, but has the ability to play outside or in the slot. He has very good athleticism overall, but did not post an ideal 40 time, at 4.50.

McPhearson also showed that he can be a positive contributor on special teams, as he had 2 blocked PATs in his college career, as well as long blocked FG return for a TD.

A player who caught my eye during the Eagles' 2020 season was Cincinnati Bengals CB Darius Phillips. He is similar in many ways to McPhearson:

  1. Undersized at 5'10, 193.
  2. Inside-outside versatility, though you'd prefer not to play him outside.
  3. Good athleticism overall, but lacking a good 40 time (Phillips ran a 4.54).
  4. Both players were good college special teamers. Phillips was the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year twice, though he was recognized for his return ability, while McPhearson made special teams plays in other ways.
  5. Phillips has good ball skills. In limited action, he has 5 INTs in the pros, and he had 12 INTs his last three seasons in college.
  6. Both players are sort of "hang on, drag down" tacklers in run support.

Phillips was the 18th highest-graded CB in the NFL last season by PFF. Of course, take that with a grain of salt, seeing as they had Marcus Epps sandwiched in between Harrison Smith and Budda Baker in their safety rankings. But it's noteworthy nevertheless, I guess.

Phillips was forced into action on a bad Bengals team early in his career, and he has held up, while showing good promise. McPhearson will very likely play early on as a rookie as well, out of sheer necessity on a team that lacks a clear starting CB2, as well as adequate depth.

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