Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy visited the Detroit Lions facility on Thursday, meeting with administrators and coaches and touring the building.
There is a chance McCoy could end up in Detroit, projected as one of the top two defensive tackles in this year’s draft class along with Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh.
A player who likes to be at the three-technique, McCoy is accustomed to one-gap football and there are many similarities between the scheme he was in at Oklahoma and the scheme Cunningham runs in Detroit.
“I’d fit in great here,” he said. “How I wanted to play in college is how they play here, but we played a certain type of defense in college and I had to play within the scheme of the defense. I think that’s really what made me successful as I was because I played within the scheme of the defense.”
McCoy’s success equates to 14-career sacks and 79 total tackles over his three seasons at Oklahoma, garnering two sacks in 2007 and six in 2008 and 2009.
Though his decision to enter this year’s draft as a junior did have some football basis to it, he actually put a significant amount of weight into academics. McCoy will earn a degree in Human Relations in May after he finishes the six credit hours he is currently enrolled in.
“I’ll be a public speaker,” he said of what he would do after football.
“I do a lot of speaking. I’ve been speaking since I was in high school and I’ve gotten fairly decent at it and I would love doing it: motivating people, preaching the Gospel, all different things – it’s what I do. I have fun doing it.”
From a football standpoint, McCoy’s decision to enter the NFL Draft this season was based on his accomplishments in college. He felt he had nothing left to prove and that he played well enough to make it to the next level.
“I played well enough to play at a high level at the next level,” he said. “I knew I would put myself in pretty good position going into the draft. I figured, nothing else to prove, getting my degree, why not try my luck at the next level?”
Though McCoy does love people and is looking forward to public speaking as a career following the NFL, he doesn’t fancy himself a vocal leader on the football field.
McCoy chooses instead to be a leader by example, recounting an instance at Oklahoma when he made sure he set the right example. It was after the Sooners had lost to Texas, sporting an unexpected 3-3 record.
“I came back that Monday and I acted like we hadn’t lost any games, like we were undefeated and everything,” he said. “That was just to show everybody: we still have a season to play. Don’t get off your game just because we lost a few games. Let’s still finish out as strong as possible.
“So I went in and I was really excited about practicing and I stayed happy and all that instead of getting all down because if they see the leader or the older guy down, they’re going to say, ‘Shoot, he’s down. Why can’t I be? And he’s supposed to be the leader.’”
With his first team visit down, it is a waiting game for McCoy in terms of which team he will end up with come April 22.
Though McCoy says he wishes he could know now where he will go, he says he is also looking at the process as a fun one.
“It’s like you’re in the classroom and the teacher says, ‘We’re going to have four groups. Four of you get a leader and they get to pick who they want,’” he said. “It’s like that. It’s just like, ‘Please, pick me! Please, please!’ Then you get picked and you make the best of your situation.”