Donnie McCleskey DB 5'10 190 California
By: Robert Davis
Donnie McCleskey exploded on to the national scene as a sophomore in 2003. He finished the year with 102 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 2 interceptions on his way to All America and All Pac 10 honors. With everyone expecting even bigger things as a junior, McCleskey had injury problems that plagued him all year. His time on the field was limited, and he was never at 100% but still finished with 38 tackles, three for loss, and two sacks. McCleskey was back displaying his all around talent this year, finishing with 62 tackles, 8.5 for loss, three sacks and an interception.
McCleskey plays safety the way you wish every safety played. He is tough, aggressive, and has the innate ability to locate the football and get to the action. He is a playmaker all over the field, and can do everything on the field. He can cover, blitz, and stuff the run. There is nothing he can't do on the field.
The only problem you see with McCleskey is his size. He is an undersized corner playing safety. It may give him some durability issues at the next level. With him being beat up his entire junior season, it gives more credence to that thought.
If he were three inches taller, McCleskey is up there with anyone in this draft as a safety. But, his size does bring about questions about how he projects to the next level. He may be given a chance to show his talent at corner in the post season, because his size is much better suited at that position. He is a natural safety however, and will likely play that position in the league. There have been some undersized safeties of late in the NFL, most notably Mike Doss and Bob Sanders of the Colts, but McCleskey's lack of size is definitely going against him. I believe he will stick in the NFL because of his playmaking instincts, and whoever grabs him will have a very good football player.
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