2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Isaiah McDuffie


The 2021 linebacker class is deep. While many expected it to be top-heavy, there are plenty of players on days two and three that could find starting roles during their rookie seasons. That includes Boston College’s, Isaiah McDuffie. McDuffie came to BC as a safety but made the transition to the second level. He didn’t play much during his freshman season and primarily played special teams. In 2018, he broke out but couldn’t continue his development thanks to an injury-plagued 2019 season. McDuffie had solid performances in the 2020 season to keep his draft stock as a day three player.

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

Player Bio 

Name: Isaiah McDuffie 

Jersey: #55

Position: Linebacker 


School: Boston College

Class: Redshirt Junior

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 224 lbs 

Tackling (8.5/10) 

McDuffie is a physical tackler. He will grab any piece of pad or clothing on the ball carrier and try to bring them down. McDuffie does a good job of wrapping up and driving through the ball carrier. There weren’t many missed tackles on his film.

Sideline-to-Sideline Ability (8.5/10) 

He isn’t the fastest player on the field, but his lateral mobility is solid. McDuffie can make plays at any level of the defense and can chase down receivers and running blocks.

Awareness (6/10) 

He isn’t going to quickly diagnose plays. McDuffie can look lost on the field at times, and in coverage, he will cover the wrong player, leaving another open further down the field.

Versatility (7/10) 

McDuffie can play in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. In a 3-4 scheme, he will be one of the inside linebackers, while in a 4-3, he will line up as the WILL linebacker. McDuffie played a lot of special teams during his freshman season as well.

Decision-Making (6/10) 

McDuffie will bite on a lot of reverses and read-option plays. He doesn’t have the tremendous speed to make up for his mistakes either.

Block Shedding (6.5/10) 

There were a few occasions where McDuffie could shed blocks, but there were far more instances when he wasn’t able to fend off blocks and work his way to the quarterback. He relies on his speed more than power.

Short-Area Quickness (9/10) 

When McDuffie sees a spot where he can get to the ball carrier, he takes it and flies through the gap. He will sometimes come in with too much heat and miss the tackle, but he can lay the lumber when he has everything calculated.

Coverage (8.75/10) 

As a former safety, McDuffie has good coverage skills. He is good in both man and zone coverage and can run side-by-side with receivers and running backs over the middle of the field.

Football IQ (6.25/10) 

McDuffie is a good athlete, but the mental aspect of his game could be lacking a bit. He plays the game at a rocketship-like speed, and it often results in some missed assignments and missed reads. McDuffie could afford to be a bit more disciplined, but there is a lot to work with because of his athletic ability.

Competitive Toughness (5/5) 

He is an undersized player but isn’t afraid to fly around the field and make tackles and fight through contact. McDuffie was a great special teams player and was a three-time captain in high school, so leadership is also a plus quality.

Injury (3.5/5) 

McDuffie missed most of the 2019 season with a lower-body injury.

Player Summary 

McDuffie is an intriguing option on day three of the draft. He is still a young prospect, and his blend of speed, versatility, coverage ability, and leadership will make teams covet him. The Saints have already had a couple of conversations with him, and he’d be a great fit in their scheme. McDuffie could afford to have a growth year where he only plays special teams while developing his awareness and processing skills. Overall, he should be a fun player to watch at the next level.

Final Grade (75/100): Mid Fourth Round 

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Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images


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