Besides seeing limited action in a pair of preseason games last summer, Michael McAdoo hasn’t played a meaningful game in nearly three years. After going undrafted in the 2011 supplemental draft, he was signed by the Ravens as a rookie free agent, but the outside linebacker spent the season on injured reserve. And in two seasons at North Carolina before the NCAA suspended him, McAdoo made just 29 tackles and three sacks.
No wonder McAdoo, who is just 21, shot me a confused look Wednesday when I told him that I get more questions from Ravens fans about him than maybe any other player besides Ray Rice or Joe Flacco.
It’s true. He’s the kind of under-the-radar prospect who the diehards love to bring up -- maybe just to flex their fandom -- but there is no denying that McAdoo is an intriguing prospect, though he is very unproven.
At 6 feet 7, 245 pounds, McAdoo was easy to spot on the practice field at the team's organized team activities the past two weeks. He moves well for a man his size, though he could stand to add more bulk to his frame. The former college defensive end hopes to help the defense overcome the loss of Terrell Suggs.
“What I bring to the table is speed,” said McAdoo, who was an all-state basketball standout in high school. “I have long arms, so I can really escape off blocks so I can grab somebody before they can grab me.”
Even though McAdoo didn’t pile up eye-popping stats before he was banned by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits and committing academic fraud, he was a sought-after rookie free agent despite the fact that no teams were willing to sacrifice a 2012 draft pick to select him in the supplemental draft last August.
He joined the Ravens in time to suit up for their final two preseason games, and garnered some attention when he got a sack and forced a fumble in the closing minutes of a preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons.
He showed enough for the Ravens to add him to their 53-man roster out of camp, but he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury after their Week 1 beat-down of the Pittsburgh Steelers (he did not play).
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said the biggest thing for McAdoo is that he is finally getting a chance to get out on the practice field and learn the defense hands-on, something he was unable to do in 2011.
“I mean, he spent a year out -- really, a couple years out -- so his is just a matter of getting in there. They’re not rookies, but they’re close," Pees said Wednesday, referencing both McAdoo and Sergio Kindle. "And so it’s a matter of getting out there and just getting the reps and really learning the defense. … A guy plays at a much higher rate of speed when he knows what he’s doing, and that’s really the key thing.”
McAdoo will be in the mix with Paul Kruger, Courtney Upshaw, Sergio Kindle, Albert McClellan and others during training camp, but for now, after sitting out the past two seasons, he’s pumped just to be playing.
“It’s definitely be a pleasure out there with the team and to actually be running plays, going through a normal practice,” McAdoo said. “It definitely feels good. It’s coming along and I feel more confident.”
The Carroll County Times reported Friday night that McAdoo tore his Achilles tendon and had surgery Friday.