Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Tyrone McKenzie
Tyrone McKenzie (OLB)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 243
College: South Florida
Conference: AAC
Hometown: Riverview, FL
High School: Riverview
Featured Prospects
Selected by: New England Patriots
Round: 3
Pick (Overall): 33 (97)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The Patriots add a high-motor edge player with the selection of McKenzie. The former Bull has exceptional hand skills and is a terrific player over the top of tight ends. In the Patriots' 3-4 defense, he will have a chance to contribute as a backup SAM linebacker.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

McKenzie's collegiate career had more pit stops than Jeff Gordon in a NASCAR race, but he finally found a home at strong-side outside linebacker with South Florida as a junior. He began his collegiate odyssey in 2004 as a reserve weak-side linebacker at Michigan State, but transferred to Iowa State after the season. He sat out the 2005 campaign under NCAA transfer rules, finally getting a starting opportunity with the Cyclones in 2006.


The redshirt sophomore went on to rank eighth in the nation and second in the Big 12 Conference in tackles in 2006, starting all year as a middle linebacker. But after the season, he informed the ISU coaching staff that he would enroll at South Florida for the 2007 spring semester and intended to play football for the Bulls.


Back in his hometown, McKenzie took advantage of a spring camp ankle injury to Chris Robinson, winning the strong-side outside linebacker position. He would go on to start 24 of his final 26 games at that position for the Bulls.


At Riverview High School, McKenzie was rated among Florida's top 50 prospects by the Tampa Tribune. The first-team All-Hillsborough County selection by the Tampa Tribune earned second-team All-County honors from the St. Petersburg Times and was selected to play in the Hillsborough County All-Star Game in Raymond James Stadium.


McKenzie rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, averaging 7.7 yards per carry in 2003. He produced four 200-yard rushing games that season, including an 80-yard touchdown run and 230 yards vs. Jefferson. He also rushed 20 times for 205 yards and four scores vs. Brandon. He missed most of his junior season due to a broken leg suffered in the season's second game. He also lettered in track, qualifying for the 2004 state 4A track championships in the 110 hurdles.


McKenzie enrolled at Michigan State in 2004, but left the program after just one season, as he posted three tackles (2 solos) in 11 games. He transferred to Iowa State, performing on the scout team in 2005. The following season, he garnered All-Big 12 Conference second-team honors. As the Cyclones' middle linebacker, he registered a career-high 129 tackles, second on the team and in the league. He also had two sacks, 9.5 stops for loss, three pass breakups and an interception.


In 2007, he enrolled at South Florida, emerging as the starting strong-side linebacker. The All-Big East Conference second-team choice started 11 games, sharing the position with Brouce Mompremier. He still managed to set the school single-season record with 121 tackles (78 solos) that included 1.5 sacks, 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and three pressures. He also blocked a kick, caused two fumbles and recovered two others.


The Butkus, Nagurski and Lott Trophy nominee started all 13 games for South Florida in 2008. He earned first-team All-Big East Conference honors, finishing second in the league with 116 tackles (78 solos). He added 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage and broke up eight passes while picking off another. His 237 tackles as a Bull was the highest total by any South Florida player over a two-year span.


High School

Attended Riverview (Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Dan O'Regan...Rated among Florida's top 50 prospects by the Tampa Tribune...The first-team All-Hillsborough County selection by the Tampa Tribune earned second-team All-County honors from the St. Petersburg Times and was selected to play in the Hillsborough County All-Star Game in Raymond James Stadium...Rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, averaging 7.7 yards per carry in 2003...Produced four 200-yard rushing games that season, including an 80-yard touchdown run and 230 yards vs. Jefferson...Also rushed 20 times for 205 yards and four scores vs. Brandon...Missed most of his junior season due to a broken leg suffered in the season's second game...Also lettered in track, qualifying for the 2004 state 4A track championships in the 110 hurdles.


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Analysis

Positives: Some versatility to play inside and in space. ... "Sam" linebacker who lines up in the stack and nine-techniques. ... Holds his ground adequately against tackles on outside run plays, can shed to turn play inside or make the tackle. ... Breaks down in the open, and can wrap up elusive runners in space. ... Brings his hips to hit ballcarriers straight on, and will put his helmet on the ball to create a turnover. ... Gets a fair punch on tight ends to knock them off the line, and stays with them in coverage. ... Will chase and hustle downfield, giving second or third effort on inside runs plays to get to the ball.


Negatives: Could be considered a bit of an inside-outside "tweener" by NFL teams. ... Not especially fluid dropping into coverage. ... Comes out of the game in nickel situations and probably will do so in the NFL. ... Not quick enough to corral slot receivers in zones. ... Doesn't have the great strength or bulk to fight his way through trash inside.


Compares To: BARRETT RUUD, Tampa Bay -- Put McKenzie in a Cover-2 scheme and let him roam the field. With his versatility, he can line up for a few plays at each linebacker position to keep the offense's blocking schemes having to account for him at all times. He is a very good read-&-react type and does a fine job of getting everyone lined up. He needs to improve his lower body strength, but his ability to make plays on the move is his best asset.


Injury Report

2002: Suffered a broken leg in the second game of his high school junior year, missing the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to have a titanium rod inserted.


2009: Could not complete agility tests at the NFL Combine after he pulled his right hamstring on his second 40-yard dash.


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