From Gig ’em to Who Dat: Erik McCoy ready to meet high expectations for Saints

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Erik McCoy represents the top draft pick by New Orleans Saints in the recent 2019 NFL draft. He represents so much more to the future of the franchise.

The Luftin (Texas) High School product fielded offers from Oklahoma State, Kansas, Houston and Arkansas State as a 3 star prospect in 2015. But he wanted to play against the very best in the nation’s best conference, so he chose the Txas A&M Aggies.

It proved a solid choice by McCoy. The level of talent that he faced on a regular basis in the SEC prepared him for the future. He noted that Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, this year’s 19th overall pick by Titans, was the toughest competition he faced in college. Challenges like that have him ready for the next level.

McCoy served as captain of the 2018 Aggies, despite being classified as a junior in eligibility. He started 39 games during his days in College Station, recognized as the A&M offensive MVP as well as receiving the team’s strength and conditioning offensive award in demonstrating his commitment and work ethic.

The 6-foot-4, 302 pounder displays good feet, maintains his balance throughout his blocks, process things quickly pre-snap, has a low center of gravity, uses good boxing skills with his hands and possesses a high IQ.

Notions that he will be ready to contribute quickly are clear in his new home. McCoy was brought into the Saints organization to man the center spot, although he is versatile enough to play guard.

“Yes, I can,” McCoy responded when asked about playing anywhere on the interior line. “I’d have to learn terminology there. I feel like it would be relatively easy. Something that I did at A&M a lot, back and forth, especially during spring.”

McCoy is a talented enough athlete to be versatile as well. He ran a 4.89 forty at the NFL Combine while posting a 31″ vertical and 29 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds.

Expectations are high in New Orleans after the team traded up in round two to pick him, but McCoy is embracing the challenge by focusing on the mental side of the game at the NFL level first and foremost.

“I’m loving it so far. I couldn’t be happier to be in New Orleans. I’m just learning the terminology. It’s different from what I’m used to (Texas A&M),” he stressed.

Saints head coach Sean Payton likes what he has witnessed thus far during the team’s rookie minicamp. “He’s been good. He’s smart. He’s a guy that you can see is experienced at his position.”

Growing up in a lineman’s body, McCoy took notice of the best players at his position to emulate early in life.

“I was a big fan of Mike Pouncey. My college coach (Texas A&M’s Jim Tuner) coached him in Miami. We watched a lot of film on him and learned a lot from what he did.”

Playing with Drew Brees is a dream come true for many players entering the NFL. McCoy is no exception.

“I can’t wait,” he exclaimed. “Easily one of the best QB’s all-time in the NFL, a Hall of Famer. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Much of what the Saints run offensively is done from shotgun formation. That’s a growing NFL trend. That won’t be any new for McCoy.

“We were 85% ‘Gun, 15% under center,” McCoy noted about the A&M offense. “We were under center on goal line and short yardage stuff. It’s not a huge adjustment. I did a lot in practice. It’s something that you can always improve on.”

As for the cultural adjustment despite moving just one state over, there are quite a few Louisiana natives that wore Texas A&M colors as teammates of Erik and prepared him for what’s ahead.

“A good friend, Kendall Bussey (Isidore Newman), said the fans are always supporting the team. There is a great fan base.”

That’s not much different from the ultra-devote Texas A&M fan base.

On November 24 last year, LSU and Texas A&M battled for seven overtimes, consuming four hours and 53 minutes in College Station before McCoy’s Aggies walked away with a controversial 74-72 win. Now on Louisiana soil and asked him about his take on the contest, he kept his answer brief.

“Gig ’em,” he said with a hearty laugh. “I’m sticking with that one to the end.”

From Gig ’em to Who Dat, McCoy hopes to keep producing without a hitch.

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau

CCS/Fox Sports/ESPN/WFAN

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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