Pernell McPhee: 2015 Cowboys Free Agent DE Prospect

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Pernell McPhee has been buried on a loaded depth chart in Baltimore behind Elvis Dumerville and Terrell Suggs. Despite being the 3rd guy in the rotation with zero starts, he amassed 27 tackles, 7.5 sacks, forced 1 fumble and broke up 4 passes in 2014.

 pernell mcphee

The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of question marks surrounding the left defensive end position and limited salary cap space after breaking the bank to use the $12.8 million franchise tag on Dez Bryant. That being said, I set out to find a solid pass rusher they could acquire on the cheap. Pernell McPhee fits the bill.


pernell mcpheePernell McPhee, DE/DT

Height|Weight:  6-3  280

College: Mississippi State

NFL Experience: 4 years

40 time: 4.93

Pernell McPhee was an All-SEC selection as voted by the coaches in 2010 and drafted in the 5th round, 165th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 NFL Draft. McPhee racked up 6.0 sacks as a rookie for the Ravens in 2011, 23 tackles and a forced fumble. He played in all 16 games as a complimentary pass rusher. On January 12, 2013, in the AFC Divisional Playoff vs the Denver Broncos, Pernell McPhee pulled off a strip-sack on Peyton Manning. As a result, the Ravens went on to win that game 38-35 in double overtime. On January 20, 2013, in the AFC Championship game vs the New England Patriots, McPhee tipped a pass from Tom Brady that resulted in an interception by Dannell Ellerbe with 6:49 remaining on the clock. This led to the Ravens winning that game 28-13 and earning a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. They went on to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.

Official Bulldogs Team Bio:

All-America candidate entering his senior season … Emerged as a team leader along the defensive line during his first season on campus … Earned All-Southeastern Conference honors during his junior year … Joined the Mississippi State football program in January 2009 … Highly decorated and highly recruited junior college defensive lineman.

Earned All-SEC honors from both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press … Twice earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors … Finished the year tied for sixth in the conference with 12.0 tackles for loss … Posted 56 total tackles, one of the highest totals in the league for defensive linemen … Also recorded a team-leading 5.0 sacks … Posted five tackles with a quarterback hurry against Auburn … Had a career day against Georgia Tech, tallying 11 stops, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack … Also forced a fumble against the Yellow Jackets … Posted seven tackles with three tackles for loss against Arkansas … Closed the season with five tackles and a quarterback hurry that forced and interception in the Egg Bowl victory.

Two-time junior college all-America who led the state’s junior colleges in quarterback sacks as both a freshman and sophomore, totaling 33 sacks during his junior college career . . . Earned first-team junior college all-America recognition by the National Junior College Athletic Association following a star-studded sophomore season for head coach Jeff Terrill at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College . . . Two-time all-state and all-Region XXIII player . . . Named first-team, All-Region XXIII at defensive end . . . Totaled a nation-leading 13.5 quarterback sacks during that sophomore season and 23.5 tackles for loss . . . Named first-team, pre-season junior college all-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association and J.C. Gridwire Magazine prior to his sophomore campaign . . . Earned second-team all-America by the NJCAA and J.C. Gridwire following his freshman season at ICC . . . Totaled 67 tackles that season and led the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges with 19.5 quarterback sacks during that first season . . . Also had 37 tackles for loss . . . Other top scholarship offers:  Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas State and West Virginia . . . Committed to MSU in July 2008.

pernell mcphee

Film Study:

  • Pernell McPhee has good height and length (34 3/8″  arms) and a large powerful looking frame. He is versatile and can play inside at DT, DE in a 4-3 and the 5 tech in a 3-4. The knock on him coming out of college was that he didn’t have the foot quickness to beat a tackle to the edge and was only successful as a straight line bull rusher. I was unable to find any of his college tape, but from what I saw on the Ravens tape: not true. It may be a result of good defensive coaching in Baltimore, or the college reports were wrong.
  • Plays with good power at the point and uses his long arms to his advantage. Extremely solid against the run. He tracks the ball well and is explosive off the snap for big guy. Knows when to put his hands up to knock down passes. Knows how to stack and shed. Has a powerful bull rush and strong active hands. Good tackler who tries to strip the ball. Moves well laterally and can play all along the line.

George Selvie led the Cowboys with only 6 sacks last season. The next closest to him by any player was 3. The Cowboys ranked 26th against the pass because of their lack of a pass rush. Despite all of the love for Anthony Spencer by the Cowboys front office, he only had half a sack. Pernell McPhee had 7.5 sacks with a fraction of the snaps Selvie had. In my opinion, the Cowboys have nothing to lose by bringing him in for a look. Spencer has not earned his paycheck and Selvie is average at best. McPhee could be an elite pass rusher if given the opportunity. I find it amusing that he had more sacks with zero starts than any of the Cowboys starters.

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  • frank

    cowgirl antybody who can help the pash rush sounds good to me. Selvie to me is a back up at best just shows our lack of depth.. on another note was waiting on you to post how we should cut weeden for Kellen Moore. I am also sure you like the extension they gave your guy Beasley (def28)

    • I have been thinking about kellen a lot and had the discussion with people. Need to put it in an article I guess. I was ecstatic about Bease. Now we know he will get more targets. Once JJ pays them it’s guaranteed.

    • its pretty bad when the ravens 3’s out produce our starters

      • frank

        It’s a case of how the mighty have fallen give me another Harvey Martin (def28)

  • Toughaswitten

    Anyone that can help this defense improve I’d welcome with open arms. I think Selvie’s drop in production just proves how valuable Ware was to this team… even if he wasn’t racking up the sack totals we were used to seeing from him.

    • ware was back to double digits in denver. JJ did him like rat and pushed him to play hurt so he never healed right. He is back to form now.

      • Toughaswitten

        In all fairness Ware was the benefactor of having Von Miller on the other side. Of course he also didn’t get so beat up by constant double & triple teams since he wasn’t the only consistent pass rush.

        • that’s what he needed in dallas in his prime: some help