A year later, Todd McShay revisits Mitch Leidner's first-round projection
By now, everyone is probably well-aware of Todd McShay’s infamous association with Mitch Leidner.
At this time last year, McShay was forced to put out a 2017 mock draft having watched very limited film on prospects. It was days after around-the-clock coverage of the 2016 NFL draft.
To the shock of many, McShay projected Leidner as a first-round quarterback. He compared the Gopher quarterback to Blake Bortles and Carson Wentz, both of whom were top-three picks in their respective drafts.
On a conference call Monday, McShay was asked about his Leidner projection a year later. Admittedly, it was a byproduct of McShay’s quick turnaround with his way-too-early mock.
“Last year specifically with Leidner, he had some flashing moments (the previous season), has the size and has some mobility. And I had conversations with people who had been around him and spoke of the work ethic and how much he loves the game,” McShay said via the Star Tribune. “There were a lot of positives and thoughts he could be an ascending player. Now, three weeks later when I finally sat down and watched tape of Mitch Leidner, I wound up giving him a fifth-round grade.”
McShay was right about Leidner having flashing moments in 2015. If you recall, he had arguably two of the best games of his career against Michigan and Ohio State.
But Leidner’s senior year certainly quieted any premature first-round talk. He finished the season with eight touchdown passes (four of them came vs. FCS Indiana State) and 12 interceptions, along with a 56-percent completion rate.
Leidner ultimately went undrafted and earned a rookie minicamp tryout with the Baltimore Ravens. He might not have been the player McShay saw in limited doses in 2015, but there’s still hope that he can hang around in the NFL.
“It’s certainly a long shot, but I still think there’s something there,” McShay said of Leidner. “Hopefully he’s able to get into the right situation and be given the opportunity to truly compete for a reserve job.”