Friday, June 7, 2013

Fins 'excited about' undrafted free agent McCray


For any undrafted free agent, making an NFL roster requires hard work, dedication and a little luck.

It also doesn't hurt if your head coach is gushing about your play on the practice field, as is the case with second-year safety Kelcie McCray.

“McCray is a guy that we we're excited about,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said recently, according to the team's website. “In the limited role that we saw him, he’s going to have a chance to get to work again. I’m excited about it.”

McCray instantly made an impression as an undrafted rookie during last year's minicamps, but fractured his foot before the preseason and sat out the entirety of the 2012 season. Now healthy and back participating in Miami's OTAs, the former Arkansas State standout has resumed impressing his coaches with his on-field exploits.

“(He) kind of runs naturally. He has some instinct going after the ball down the field. He can catch the ball easy without fighting it," Philbin said. "I kind of like those kind of players that move around like that.”

"Sometimes when you’re watching film and you look at the guys and you’re saying this guy kind of looks like a football player, the way it should be."

Last year, the Dolphins kept McCray on injured reserve after the foot injury healed, retaining his 90-man roster spot for this season. After a year on the shelf, the team expects him to continue his development.

"Certainly there is still some rust there that has to come off, but we think he has a future,” Philbin added.

McCray, who said that Philbin's comments "definitely motivate" him, will be battling veteran Jimmy Wilson and seventh-round rookie Don Jones for the back-up safety jobs behind Miami's established starters, Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones.

Both Clemons and Jones are set to become free agents after the season, so with an impressive 2013 campaign, McCray could earn himself a significant role on the team in the future. But that may not be soon enough in the young safety's view.

“I’m definitely trying to be a starting safety in this league, starting safety this year," McCray said. "I’m excited to get out on the field. I definitely did some good things the time I did practice. I’m glad they were impressed."

Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily