Coverage: McCarthy has adequate speed to stay with the tight end or running back on deep routes. He also has the foot quickness to stay with them on the short to medium routes. His size and foot quicks helps him in zone coverage so he can drop back and read the QB pass and disrupt it.
Instincts: He is a smart player who knows his assignments and rarely is out of position. He can be a liability when he does not use good hand placement and can get tied up by the offensive lineman. He diagnoses the run and short pass well. He does not get fooled easily on misdirection, traps, or counter plays. Sometimes he loses concentration and focus which causes him to be out of position.
Pass rush: McCarthy is an adequate pass rusher. He does not have an array of pass rush moves when coming from the outside. He shoots the gaps with aggressiveness and a burst to get to the QB. He gets off the line fast and uses his hands well to beat the offensive lineman. When he is aggressive with his hands he sheds quickly and can get after the QB.
Pursuit: He has good foot quickness and very good instincts to play on the ball before the runner can get outside. When he has a clear path to the ball he consistently makes plays in pursuit. He sometimes takes bad angles and struggles moving thru traffic. He has a very good burst to make plays from sideline to sideline and make tackles for losses in the backfield.
Quickness: He gets off the ball fast and fills quickly due to his very good read and react awareness. He has the quick hands, feet, and agility to defeat running backs who try and pass block him which helps him consistently pressure the QB. He accelerates to full speed very quickly and has very good playing speed to chase down running backs in backside pursuit. He does not have the speed or quickness to stay on the hip of faster tight ends and running backs deep down field in tight man to man coverage.
Run defense: McCarthy fills fast and sheds the block with good hand use and playing strength then can wrap up ball carrier and bring him down. He plays with good base and leverage which helps him to consistently play strong at the point of attack. He gets caught up in traffic on occasion due to taking bad angles sometimes. His quick feet helps him to make plays from sideline to sideline.
Strength: He has very good flexibility to keep knees bent and allows him to explode with his strength and power into the ball carrier to push him back or bring him down. He plays strong at the point of attack versus blockers and as a tackler. When he takes on lead blocking running backs with leverage and aggressiveness he has good playing strength and can be a strong tackler. He can get bounced around or driven backwards when he is to upright and causes him to not be strong at the point of attack.
Tackling; He is a very good tackler and makes the majority of them. He can also tackle well out in space when he keeps his feet under him and uses his good balance. He can chase plays down from behind and sideline to sideline with his quick feet, agility, and athleticism.
Final Word: McCarthy is a good athlete and plays with toughness and good instincts. He reads and reacts to running plays very fast then sheds the block and makes the tackle. He seems to be an ideal fit for teams running a 4-3 defense. He can play the middle linebacker or even on occassion the outside linebacker positions. When he is free to roam behind the 4 down lineman in a 4-3 scheme he will be at his best and make plays from sideline to sideline. He could play the middle linebacker position in a 3-4 defense, but I think he would struggle there because he has problems disengaging from offensive lineman and also fighting through traffic. He reminds me a lot of ex football star, Dan Morgan, who also played at Miami. McCarthy had a great Senior Bowl, showing off his athleticism and flexibility to play multiple positions. Overall, McCarthy more than likely will be a 2nd round steal for an NFL team on draft day and will be very consistently productive linebacker who does not make a lot of mistakes and is always around the ball. Teams he would fit well with are the Broncos, Lions, Giants, Panthers, Jaguars, and Titans.