Scouting Report: USC's T.J. McDonald

T.J. McDonald
USC, Safety
6-foot-3, 210 lbs.

Key and Diagnose
This is a smart football player who rarely false steps in terms of field vision. Can see play develop fast and explode to make the play.

Cover Skills
Very good ability to jump routes and shadow receivers across the field. Shows hip flexibility and short area speed and burst to gain advantage in coverage.

Ball React
Very good timing, especially in jump ball situations. Excellent leaping ability. Knows how to position body to meet the play head on. Doesn't get flagged much downfield.

Comes off the hash fast to break up vertical pass plays. Shows outstanding speed to close on ball. Anticipates and reacts very well.

Vicious hitter who strikes with authority. Makes several aggressive tackles in every game. Can be intimidating to opposing receivers, especially across the middle of the field.

One of the more talented safeties to come out of USC in the last decade, McDonald combines size, speed and aggressiveness to make his presence felt in every game he plays. He is a big time hitter who can create turnovers on his own with his aggressive style of play. Also displays the necessary speed/burst to come off the hash and break up plays downfield with very good timing and anticipation. Can go up and get the ball in compete situations due to his leaping ability. He shows up most in the run game as he is quick to react up field and stuff running lanes as he appears to relish the physical part of the game. The leader of the USC secondary comes to play each and every Saturday and will undoubtedly take his game to the next level in the future.


Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).

Photo courtesy: John Pyle

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