More NFL teams are looking for versatile offensive weapons for their offense each year, and Livingstone tight end Bernard McCall is a potential diamond in the rough who fits that bill.
McCall is a jack-of-all-trades who can line up as a tight end, out of the slot, as an H-back or out of the backfield. A 6-foot-2, 253-pounder with legitimate 4.6 speed, he has an intriguing combination of power and speed that has garnered interest from NFL teams.
Draft Wire had the chance to speak exclusively with McCall about his versatility, his experience at the Panthers’ Local Pro Day, his YAC ability, and much more.
JI: You’ve been projected in a handful of different positions. What goes into developing that versatility in case different offenses have different plans for you?
BM: I think it just all goes back to being good at football. Before I’m labeled any position, I’m a football player before anything. I believe that if you go line me up at running back, quarterback, any position, that I’m gonna thrive in it, because I’m just good at football.
JI: You had the chance to go out to the Panthers’ local Pro Day. What was that experience like for you?
BM: It was mind-blowing for me. My eyes were wide open. I felt like a kid in a candy store, but it was definitely great for me. I got to showcase my talents alongside other athletes, especially some athletes who played Division I, and there was no one at the tight end position. You have me; I’m still trying to make a name for myself, getting people to kind of recognize me, and it’s a great opportunity for me.
Photo courtesy of Bryan Miller
JI: You’re an explosive athlete for your size with very good YAC ability for a tight end. How have you worked to maintain that agility while maintaining your powerful frame?
BM: One thing that I like to do, even after I’m lifting weights and things like that, I love plyometrics, and it has helped give me the ability to be able to control my body weight, so I control my body weight. I feel really light, regardless of what happens.
JI: Have you heard any feedback on if there’s a prevalent position teams project you as?
BM: I haven’t got a clear position or how teams will use me, but at my all-star games – I played in the FCS bowl and the College Gridiron Showcase – a lot of people, they see that hybrid tight end, a flexed-out slot. For me. That’s the route that a lot of [people] see for me.
JI: How was the opportunity to compete at those all-star games?
BM: It was just like the local Pro Day: it was great for me. I got to I got to build my stock up alongside other people who have been known for years, offense and defense. I also got to meet some of these guys and learn from some of these guys who have been playing this position, or some of these coaches who have been coaching this position for a while. I got a fellowship to see what other people do to make this as comfortable in-line and what I’m uncomfortable with, and [I] also got to share some of my secrets on what makes me good at football that they may like at a certain position.
Photo courtesy of Bryan Miller
JI: Which players have you grown up idolizing?
BM: For me, it’s always been my whole life, these two players: Anquan Boldin and Dez Bryant. They’re not the fastest guys, but they’re very fast and very explosive within their body frame, and then the run after catch is just amazing with those two guys.
JI: How do you like to spend your free time outside of football?
BM: I usually kick back: I play Madden and [NBA] 2K, kind of get off my feet, kind of relax, because I spend a lot of my time with football. [I] kind of dedicate the majority of my day to [it]. I may go in the living room or watch a movie or something with my mom, make her laugh. For the most part, that’s probably all I do outside of football.
JI: Do you have a go-to 2K team?
BM: Oh, if I really need to win, where it’s a must win, I’m going to go with LeBron and whatever team he’s on. I’m going with Tar Heels – I’m a UNC Tar Heel fan – so I like to play with other Tar Heels, so I might go explore teams and maybe find former Tar Heels to play with.
JI: Let’s say I’m an NFL general manager. What would I be getting if I drafted you to my team?
BM: A man who’s gonna come to work every day. I feel like my work ethic is second to none, and you’re getting somebody who will not only give you Super Bowl reps, every rep from training camp, from rookie training camp, up into the playoffs. You’re getting a very unselfish teammate.