Oakland Raiders: Keith McGill Not Quite On Richard Sherman’s Level


When you’re talking comedy, they say that timing is everything. Oakland Raiders second year cornerback Keith McGill, found out the hard way that old saying is indeed true as he went from being hailed as the next Richard Sherman to being a piece of Amari Cooper roadkill all in the same day.

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On August third, FoxSports.com ran an article on McGill calling him the next Richard Sherman. Sure, there are some apples to apples comparisons to be made – both are big, rangy cornerbacks. Both are 6’3” though Sherman checks in at 195 lbs., while McGill is a stouter 210 lbs. And given the presence of former Seattle coach and new Raiders DC Ken Norton Jr., who is planning on implementing a Seahawks style of defense, it’s understandable why some might be apt to draw comparisons between the two players.

From the FoxSports.com article:

"“Ken Norton Jr. likes tall, rangy corners who can play press coverage and win.So the Raiders’ new defensive coordinator should love Keith McGill, who stands at 6-foot-3 and whose scouting report sounds a lot like a player Norton Jr. is plenty familiar with – Richard Sherman.Norton coached in Seattle last year. He’ll implement their “Legion of Boom”-style in Oakland, where McGill could star — if he earns a starting job first.”"

With the glowing praise and impressive comparisons McGill is drawing, it had to be especially appalling when on the very same day the FoxSports article appeared, a video from training camp also appeared that showed him being absolutely abused by rookie wideout Amari Cooper.

Not very Richard Sherman-like, was that?

To be fair, it was one play during training camp against a receiver who is unnaturally poised, polished, and already an elite route runner. Even Richard Sherman might have trouble locking down Cooper.

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But on that one play, McGill got absolutely abused by Cooper, which makes the timing of the article anointing him the next Richard Sherman all the funnier.

McGill has most definitely showed plenty of promise both last year, and through the early stages of offseason work, as well as training camp. By all accounts, he’s ahead of former first round draft pick D.J. Hayden, who has been his usual inconsistent self thus far.

McGill has been turning heads by making plays against training camp standout Michael Crabtree – plays that Hayden hasn’t been making. There has been such a stark difference between the two at this point in camp, that Hayden has spent most of his time working with the second unit, perhaps preparing for a role as the nickel corner simply because McGill has been that good.

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  • The comparisons to Seattle’s superstar corner, along with taking the first team reps in camp has McGill feeling strong and confident as the summer rolls along.
    In an article that appeared on CSNBayArea.com, McGill said:

    "“I’m just focused on performance when I’m on the field,” McGill said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m with the first, second or third team. When I’m out there, I have to make the reps count. If the coaches trust me to take snaps with the first team when the season starts, then I’m going to do what I have to do. I have confidence in myself, and I have to make sure my teammates have confidence in me.”"

    Given the fact that Oakland is relying on this core group of youngsters – McGill, Hayden, and Travis Carrie – to man the corners and reinvigorate the Raiders’ secondary, they are going to need them all to step up and play big. It’s a challenge that, to this point, Hayden is faltering in while Carrie and McGill seem to be excelling.

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  • Norton Jr. is certainly upping the ante and raising the expectations for Oakland’s young corners, saying that they absolutely have as much potential as Seattle’s vaunted Legion of Boom.

    "“The competition is there. The young corners that I’ve been with in the past, they started out with no one knowing who they were, then all of the sudden they’re the stars of the league. And it’s a matter of coaching, developing, time, energy, effort and just the group.”"

    The fact that McGill is stepping up his game and taking huge strides – even if it’s at the expense of Hayden – bodes well for the Raiders’ secondary. They are going to need he and Carrie to play like veterans rather than second year corners.

    If Oakland’s retooled front seven – who will be hell against the run – can’t generate a consistent pass rush, McGill, Carrie, and Hayden figure to see a lot of balls thrown their way. And if Oakland hopes to compete this year, they are going to need them to make more plays than they give up. A lot more.

    To this point, McGill has showed that he is indeed capable of making that leap and playing as big as Oakland needs him to play. He’s been victimized a few times showing that he still has some learning yet to do, however.

    McGill is playing well. And the praise he’s receiving will undoubtedly bolster his confidence – a necessity for NFL corners. But as that video showed us, he’s not on the same plane as Richard Sherman.

    Not quite yet, anyway.

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