STRENGTHS - Deceptively strong, McFarland makes it look easy anchoring against one on one OL run blocks when he plays with leverage. Although not as consistent doing so as a pass rusher, he does a good job of keeping knees bent and taking on run blocks with good base/leverage. Not only oes he anchor, but he can get arm extension and is able to shed and make the tackle on inside runs. Impressively, even when he cannot shed blocker completely, he shows smarts and ability to free up arm in hole to get ahold of ball carrier, which slows down runner so the rest of the defense can close and finish the play. When he maintains leverage and aggressiveness during bull rush, he can jolt and drive OL back into the pocket with surprising ease.
WEAKNESSES - Despite good natural strength, McFarland does not consistently dominate the OL blocking him. He lacks quickness off the ball, which often allows OL to get their hands on him first and when they do they usually can tie him up and seal him out of the play. Although he shows good awareness in most situations, he does not sense/feel side blocks coming and can be tied up and ridden out of the play. Pretty much only effective as a bull rusher (and he is not consistent doing that), McFarland's lack of initial quickness and pass rush repertoire usually lead to him being a non-factor rushing the passer.
SUMMARY - Not a highly regarded prospect entering the 2012 season, McFarland still struggled this season and did not do enough to warrant being more than a late round consideration. While many defensive tackles are content to anchor vs blocks and make plays within a limited area, McFarland shows the competes and hustle to consistently chase hard after the ball carrier in pursuit and displays better than expected speed to make plays. Overall, McFarland is not a premier prospect as he was not invited to the East West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, Texas Versus the Nation Game or the Combine. He does however a good, thick body and consistently competes hard to make plays in pursuit through effort and determination. In the end, McFarland will likely be a late round pick or priority free agent and will need to play with leverage and aggressiveness more consistently to become contributing defensive tackle in the NFL.