Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Nicholas McBeain - The tackling machine

The 2018 NFL draft class is considered pretty deep at the linebacker position. When the draft ends on the evening of April 28th, chances are good that the name Nicholas McBeain will not have been called. It should also not be a surprise if his name is not among the numerous undrafted free agents that are brought in by teams for tryouts and mini-camp.

Nicholas McBeain is 6-1 238lbs linebacker from Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota an NAIA school. The NAIA is “the other” athletic association in addition to the NCAA. Tramaine Brock, a cornerback who recently signed as a free agent with the Broncos, is an NAIA alum who has been in the league since 2010, mostly with the 49ers. Brock spent his first two college seasons at a JUCO then in his junior year, Brock transferred to the University of Minnesota. He was made a starter but left in his senior year after being suspended for failing to qualify academically. Brock transferred to Belhaven University of the NAIA to finish out his senior year. A number of NAIA players have similar stories, but most players spend all four years with their NAIA school.

Nicholas McBeain is one of those.

As a freshman he led team with 143 total tackles (63 solo), had one game in which he had 20 total tackles and recorded 10 or more tackles in 8 games. He was named NSAA 1st Team All-Conference.

In his sophomore season, he led team with 115 total tackles (65 solo) and posted a season-high 20 tackles twice in back-to-back games. Somehow, he was only named 2nd Team All-Conference.

His junior year was historic. He led the team with 188 total tackles (54 solo). Led the NAIA in tackles per game with 18.8, broke the school record for tackles in a season (188) and career tackles (446). He was named an AFCA NAIA All-American, a Cliff Harris Award Finalist and first team all-conference.

After his first team all-conference senior season, he left VCSU as it’s all-time leading with an amazing 522 career tackles. When McBeain joined the Vikings in the fall of 2014, the school record for tackles was 376. McBeain broke that record in the middle of his junior season. He also holds the school records for single-season total tackles (188) and assisted tackles (134), and career solo tackles (223) and assisted tackles (299). The NAIA national office does not currently keep records for career tackles, but a quick look at the NCAA record books helps to put McBeain's numbers in perspective. McBeain's 522 career tackles would rank him 12th all-time on the NCAA record list, and his career average of 14.5 tackles per game would rank 1st all-time in NCAA history. (The current record is 13.9 tackles per game.)

Maybe it is not fair comparing NCAA vs NAIA, who knows, but regardless one thing cannot be denied; Nicholas McBeain is a tackling machine.

It has always perplexed me why more NFL teams don’t take a chance on these guys by bringing them in as undrafted free agents. Someone had the smarts to take a chance on a 5’10” linebacker from John Carroll University named London Fletcher and he finished his career by playing in 215 consecutive games started, which tied him for 6th all-time. Last year, MartyandMatt.com chose tight end Andy Avgi as their Steal of the Year. While NFL teams went looking for basketball players to transform into tight ends, Avgi, at 6-5 and 265 lbs, was all-conference at basketball AND football. Despite that, all he got was a quick courtesy workout by the Raiders. It baffles me.

Now, I’m not betting the house that McBeain can play in the NFL, but I can’t see why some team wouldn’t kick the tires on this guy; instead of inviting some guy to minicamp who sat on the bench for four years at Notre Dame.


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