Player Spotlights

Is Dexter McCoil the Next Great CFL Find?

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With the NFL Combine in the rearview mirror, we are reminded that each and every player has a unique path to the NFL.

Thirty-two of these players (31 this year, thanks to the Patriots) will be first-round picks and 253 will be drafted overall. But for every Andrew Luck there is a Kurt Warner — a player whose path to the NFL is rockier and far less clear.

For San Diego’s Dexter McCoil, the journey has been akin to scaling a mountain.

Prior to signing a reserve/future contract with the Chargers, McCoil spent the past three years with a slew of professional football teams, from a brief stint with the Oakland Raiders to winning the Gray Cup with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.

Now, he gets another shot at the big time.

McCoil is pretty much a mystery, but does bring a certain amount of intrigue. The 24-year-old linebacker out of Tulsa is fast and athletic, playing both linebacker and defensive back for the Eskimos, and has solid hands.

Listed at 6’4″ and 220 lbs., McCoil has a lanky build and is undersized for a middle linebacker in San Diego’s 3-4 defense. Still, he was a solid tackler for Edmonton and could be used on special teams, as well as a nickel linebacker or perhaps even safety in certain situations.

More fascinating than his diverse skill-set is his résumé.

McCoil was signed by the Raiders as a free agent back in 2013. He went undrafted that year, despite being a productive player with the Golden Hurricanes. McCoil tallied 315 tackles, 18 interceptions and 43 pass breakups in his college career.

While McCoil failed to catch on with the Raiders, his professional football career was far from over. After Oakland, McCoil spent time with the Arena Football League’s Los Angeles Kiss prior to playing two outstanding seasons in the Great White North.

With Edmonton, McCoil was an absolute beast with 143 tackles, six sacks and nine interceptions in two seasons with the Eskimos. He also earned his share of accolades, including the Most Outstanding Rookie Award in 2014 and a championship in 2015.

With his production in Canada, it’s no wonder why Tom Telesco was interested in McCoil. But while the CFL standout has played inspired football at practically every level, NFL success has eluded him thus far.

Still, perseverance is something to be praised, and if any of McCoil’s big-play ability makes the jump to the NFL, he will be a welcomed addition to the Chargers.

About Trenton Villanueva

A San Diego native, Trenton Villanueva graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a minor in the hydraulic principles of the keg. Prior to writing for SDBR, he covered sports news for FanSided and wrote music reviews for the San Diego State Daily Aztec.

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