Size /Strength: McCullers, is HUGE. He is a behemoth of a man at 6’7, 350 pounds. Few players come into the league a year, with combined height and weight like that. When McCullers is actually using his size and strength it’s impressive, he game Chance Warmack a hard time on several plays one vs. one in 2012.
Versatility: McCullers played all over the interior line and in many different formations while at Tennessee. McCullers didn’t dominate as a nose tackle in the 3-4 defense but he held his own at the point of attack while dealing with double teams. McCullers made most of his plays when he was left alone with a guard or a center who he could overpower.
Hand Use: Watching McCullers it became evident that for long periods of time, he can forget that he has hands, or even arms for that matter. He’ll overextend himself and just kind of stay there with interior lineman. When he actually rips and pulls with his hands he makes a much larger impact.
Effort: One of my favorite things to see from interior lineman is the effort and drive to chase down a play. It’s not for everyone, and it’s clearly not for McCullers. Sometimes watching people run down plays is too much for him though, so he’ll need to take a couple plays off to rest. I honestly just think the constant double teams tire him out and less plays for him will help maximize his effectiveness.
NFL Player Comparison
John Henderson, Formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Watching McCullers, about three games in I came to the conclusion that he could be John Henderson (who also went to Tennessee coincidently). Henderson was a also a mountain of a man at a listed 6’7, 335. McCullers will need to play in a 4-3 defense to give him more one on ones with offensive lineman, and that’s exactly what helped Henderson dominate in Jacksonville for nearly a decade.
McCullers could come off the board anywhere from the mid second round to the early fourth round. He isn’t a top 5 defensive tackle right now, but many teams might see the opportunity for him to become a dominant force.
Plenty of teams could use a huge space eating defensive tackle, but teams that run a 4-3 base defense are where he’ll fit best. A few teams that need someone to help their defenses like this are the Patriots (they need a replacement for Vince Wilfork), Bears, and the Cowboys. The Cowboys could use just about anyone young and cheap while they rebuild. The Bears just need help on their interior d-line in the worst way.