Our No. 17 ranked player in the Top 25 Saints of 2020 is Erik McCoy. McCoy started all 16 regular-season games at center in 2019 and is on track to do the same in 2020.
Drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the 48th overall pick out of Texas A&M, Erik McCoy had massive shoes to fill as a rookie. Veteran center Max Unger retired at the end of the 2018 season, leaving the Saints to fill a position previously anchored by a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
McCoy impressed in his rookie campaign, playing 99% of the offensive snaps and only logging eight penalties. Eight penalties over the course of 1,058 snaps according to Pro Football Focus.
McCoy ranked tied-4th against all other centers in penalties and tied-18th for sacks allowed with only one on the year. McCoy’s play in 2019 earned a 76.2 overall grade from PFF (third among Saints offensive lineman in 2019).
Unlike offensive skill players and defensive players, for offensive lineman, not hearing your name called is a good thing. Many Saints fans may not be familiar with Erik McCoy but that only goes to show how effective the first-time starter was in 2019.
With the Saints using the 24th overall pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft on Cesar Ruiz, another stud center, many were left wondering who will play guard. A void left by recently released Larry Warford.
Since McCoy and Brees already have a year of chemistry, expect Cesar Ruiz to slide over one spot on the offensive line to guard, a position that Ruiz is familiar with, and McCoy to build on an already impressive start to his young career.
McCoy will be an instrumental part of this team’s success in 2020, or lack thereof. He’ll certainly be counted on more often and should be a key part of the offensive line.
Average rank among 12 writers: 15.6
Number of times missing the top 25: 1