STRENGTHS: Plays low with agile feet and sudden quickness...fluid hips and doesn't struggle changing directions in transition...natural feel in coverage with terrific ball awareness...fundamentally sound in man and zone coverage...above average ballskills, quickly locating and attacking the ball with soft hands - playmaker after the turnover with five career defensive touchdowns, averaging 20.5 yards per interception return (12/246/4).
Plays bigger than he looks, aggressively fighting through blocks and not a spectator in run support...impact potential as a kick returner, averaging 25.3 yards per return (42/1,061/0)...moved inside to cover the slot in three wide receiver sets...nonstop competitor with strong preparation habits - has to be kicked out of the film room, according to his coaches...takes the initiative and is his harshest critic...four-year starter with 43 career starts.
WEAKNESSES: Undersized for the position with shorter stature, below average arm length and a maxed out frame...lacks a second gear downfield with only average long-speed - can get beat vertically and won't make up ground...will lose his man in space and allow his eyes to get lost in the backfield...needs to improve his underneath anticipation to click-and-close sooner on slants, protecting against getting beat deep.
Room to clean up his pursuit angles with unreliable break down skills in space...half-hearted tackle attempts and doesn't pack much power behind his pads...minor durability concerns, suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee (Oct. 2013) that required surgery, missing two games - reinjured the knee later in the season (Nov. 2013) and sat out one more game...intense competitor, but almost to a fault.
In Our View: A defensive playmaker, McCain doesn't look like much and won't win many foot races in the NFL, but he is quicker than fast with suddenness and body coordination to reside in a receiver's shadow and make plays on the ball. He is a tough and willing run defender, but undisciplined and missed too many tackles on film.
A vocal leader with appealing football character, McCain's on-field production as a cover man (11 interceptions the last 22 games) can be linked to his off-field preparation, working hard in the film to recognize offensive tendencies and run routes better than receivers. His lack of physical tools limit his pro ceiling, but his
A three-star cornerback recruit out of high school, McCain received scholarship offers from several SEC programs like Mississippi State and Tennessee, but he committed to Memphis.
He became a starter early in his career as a true freshman with nine starts in 2011, recording 29 tackles, five passes defended and one interception. McCain started all 12 games in 2012 as a sophomore and finished with 36 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three passes defended. He started nine games in 2013, missing three due to injury, and recorded a team-best 10 passes defended and six interceptions, earning Second Team All-AAC honors.
McCain started all 13 games as a senior in 2014, finishing with 46 tackles, nine passes defended and five interceptions, earning First Team All-AAC honors. He earned an invitation to the 2015 East-West Shrine Game.