Robert McCabe: A Tackling Machine

By: PFC Draft Writer Philip Arnold (@PhilipArnold20)

Football vs Yale

Certain defensive players just have a knack for being around the ball and making plays.  That describes Georgetown Linebacker Robert McCabe.  McCabe put together an eye opening season with 159 tackles, which led all players in the FCS, and 14.5 tackles for a loss.  Through his career at Georgetown, McCabe totaled an astonishing 407 career tackles, breaking Georgetown records and landed him fifth in Patriot League history.   McCabe earned first team All-American honors this year, along with being named Patriot League defensive player of the year.

Totaling 159 tackles in a season is not an easy thing to do.   McCabe has a knack for finding the football and making a play.  McCabe carries good size with him for the linebacker spot standing at 6-2 and weighing 234 lbs. He is a quick linebacker who allows his instincts and smarts to take over on the field.  A lot of football is won and lost in the offseason and in preparation for games, a big reason why McCabe was so successful.  When talking to McCabe you get the feeling he comes well prepared every game and every play.  “I’m big in the film room, definitely a strength of mine; I always had a good idea of how an offense was going to attack us as a defense, knowing the down and distance and doing my homework before each play.” Answered McCabe, when asked about what he felt makes him a successful linebacker.  McCabe also described his ability as a reliable and sure tackler, and that is apparent with the stats he posted this year and over his career at Georgetown.

Some linebackers are subbed in 3rd down passing situations for more coverage players.  That is not the case with McCabe.  McCabe can play 3 downs and it is an attribute he takes pride in.  If you had a player that gets to the football like McCabe, I would want him on the field for three downs also.  “Navorro Bowman is a guy I like to watch and compare myself too.   He is a true 3 down linebacker, and that is something I pride myself in.  Bowman is just as good against the run as he is against the pass, and that’s something I want to be known for.” When blitzing, McCabe posses quickness and agility to beat offensive lineman and good timing in blitzes.  In the run game, McCabe is gap and fundamentally sound.  He fills holes quickly, eating up ball carriers at the line of scrimmage.  In the open field McCabe is a sure tackler.  He takes good angles on carriers and comes to good balance.

Another attribute that makes McCabe a successful player is versatility.  McCabe had the opportunities to work as both an Inside Linebacker and Outside Linebacker while in college.  The past two seasons McCabe played inside in the 3-4 Georgetown defensive scheme.  McCabe feels he can play at all linebacker spots and showed that in his time at Georgetown and during the week at the East-West Shrine Game.  When he was in St. Petersburg for the Shrine game, he took the opportunity to show he could play outside in the 4-3 scheme.  “I wanted to show my versatility when I went down there.  I have experience at both linebackers spots and wanted to show I’m not just an inside 3-4 guy.  I feel I could adjust to any linebacker spot if a team needed me to play one.” Replied McCabe, when asked about his versatility skills and where he thinks he will play in the NFL.  NFL scouts love a player that can play multiple positions and is willing to work and adjust,  and McCabe has shown that.

The Shrine game allows players to show off their skillset in front of NFL scouts for a week full of practices and then put it in action in a game situation at the end of the week.  McCabe took full advantage of his experience and opportunity at the Shrine game.  He had a good week of practice and was able to compete against some of the top players in this 2013 draft class.  In the game McCabe added 3 tackles while showing his versatility at different positions.  “I felt I had a good week of practice against some of the top talent.  I felt I proved I belonged there and could play against some of the best.”  McCabe did say the first day he had to adjust to the upgrade in level of talent and size and speed of some players, “There definitely was an upgrade in talent and a difference in size and speed of some guys.  The first practice was a bit of an adjustment, but after that I felt fine and fit right in.”

McCabe carries good character with him to an NFL team.  During the 2012 season he was named a team captain showing the respect his teammates and coaches have for him on and off the field.  McCabe’s willingness to work at different positions and versatility shows he is an open worker and will do what is best for a team.  McCabe will graduate from Georgetown, a very prestigious academic school, with a 3.0 GPA in finance.  He clearly took every aspect of his time at Georgetown seriously and is a well-rounded athlete on and off the field.

The draft is quickly approaching and McCabe is taking advantage of every opportunity he gets.  He performed in his pro day Monday at Howard University.  On April 2nd McCabe will work out for the Philadelphia Eagles and hoping his Pro Day continues to open up more workouts as we approach the draft.  Teams that get the opportunity to work with McCabe will see his hardworking mentality and a fundamental LB with a nose for finding the football.