Goodbye, Sean McKeon

Goodbye, Sean McKeon


February 13, 2020
Sean McKeon (image via MGoBlue)

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HIGH SCHOOL
Dudley (MA) Shepherd Hill tight end Sean McKeon committed to Michigan in June of 2015 as a part of the class of 2016. Overall, he had been lightly recruited and the Wolverines won out over schools like Boston College, UConn, and UMass. I initially gave him a TTB Rating of 83 (LINK). He ended up as a 3-star, the #45 tight end, and #854 overall. Eventually, I bumped him down to a 77 (LINK).

Hit the jump for more.

COLLEGE
McKeon played in four games as a freshman in 2016, leaving open the possibility of redshirting and playing a fifth year in 2020. He made 2 catches for 10 yards in the season opener against Hawaii and didn’t catch a ball again. Devin Asiasi transferred after 2016, which helped clear the path for McKeon, who started ten games in 2017 and caught 31 passes for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns. He followed that up with a disappointing 2018, when he caught just 14 passes for 122 yards and 1 score. During the following off-season, he reportedly stepped up his nutrition and workout regimen, and it paid off with 13 catches for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.

CAREER STATS
40 games played (23 starts)
60 catches for 668 yards (11.1 yards/catch) and 6 touchdowns

AWARDS
Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2017-2019)

SUMMARY
As I briefly mentioned above, a guy named Devin Asiasi was also a part of the 2016 class. In some ways McKeon lucked out by having Asiasi transfer to UCLA after his freshman year. There were three tight ends in that one recruiting class (those two and Nick Eubanks), and there’s simply no room to keep three guys around at tight end for four to five years. McKeon was initially a 2-star recruit before being bumped to a 3-star, and his career reflected that. He was a somewhat forgettable starter whose most effective contributions probably came in 2018 – not as a receiver, but as a lead blocker on some zone keepers by Shea Patterson. He averaged 5.0, 9.7, and 8.7 yards per catch over his first three seasons before a new system (and less volume) helped him jump all the way up to 18.1 in 2019.

I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR…
…fumbling a handoff in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina. Jim Harbaugh later mentioned that the coaches made a gaffe and called for McKeon to get a handoff when it was supposed to be someone else in the game, and McKeon hadn’t practiced the play. So I’m not blaming McKeon. But thinking back to his four years, he really doesn’t seem to have any significant legacy when it comes to big catches, key scores, amazing plays, etc.

PROJECTION
McKeon earned an invitation to the NFL Combine, so that’s positive for him. At 6’5″ and 238 pounds, I think he needs to change his body if he wants to stay in the NFL. It seems to me that he wanted to be that long, lanky, speedy, mismatch tight end, but he doesn’t really have the functional strength to pull off the in-line blocking, nor the athleticism to be a mismatch. If he wants to stay in the NFL, I think he needs to embrace bulking up to 245-250 pounds and trying to work on his blocking while still maintaining the quickness he has. He’s not slow, he’s not a poor athlete, and he’s not a bad blocker…but he also doesn’t seem quite good enough in those categories to succeed, either. He seems like a 6th or 7th round pick, or perhaps an undrafted free agent.

4 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 31
    Joined: 10/6/2019
    awolverine10
    Feb 13, 2020 at 8:58 AM

    Thunder, surprised to hear your comment on his athleticism — wasn’t that the one major positive on him as a recruit, that he had pretty outrageous scores at the Sparq testing for a tight end? Or do you mean in the context of what he’ll need for the nFL?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3789
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 13, 2020 at 1:27 PM

      He’s not a bad athlete (running, jumping, etc.), but it doesn’t translate to the field. He doesn’t high-point the football, he doesn’t change direction very well, he never did a ton after the catch, etc. The SPARQ score might be impressive, but if he’s not running past people on the field, outjumping them, etc., then it doesn’t really matter.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6191
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Feb 13, 2020 at 6:14 PM

    My thing with McKeon is that he does not have natural receiving skills. His hands, timing, awareness and instincts always seemed off. For a guy who played so much over the last 4 years I don’t really remember him making any tough catches in traffic or using his 6’5 frame to fight off DBs for jump balls.

    I thought his athleticism was an asset – he did a decent job getting open and he was continually praised for his blocking ability despite not being a huge guy. I think he’ll test well at the combine and it’ll get him drafted.

    Ultimately I agree with Thunder that he doesn’t have a real standout trait for the next level – he’s not big enough to be an impact blocker and he doesn’t have the skills to be an impact receiver. He also doesn’t have too many flaws in his game beyond what I mentioned up top.

    Solid career at Michigan but left me feeling a little unfulfilled.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Feb 13, 2020 at 6:58 PM

    I wasn’t impressed with McKeon at all, and am surprised he got a combined invite. I can’t predict how he’ll perform in testing, but – based on film – I don’t think it’ll be enough to get drafted

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