Jairon McVea might be listed as a safety, but I'd describe his likely NFL position as "special teams player". At Baylor, McVea was just a backup player. He started games last year only after another player got injured. When he got more playing time on defense, he looked like a backup to me, so I'm not expecting him to magically transform himself into an NFL starter. I assume that the reason the Rams are giving him a look is for his ST potential. He's very intelligent, runs pretty fast and has substantial special teams experience.
McVea is a Baylor legend for a single play in his career that was very similar to the famous tackle Mike Jones made for the Rams in the GSOT Super Bowl victory in the 1999 season. Jones was a running back in college at Missouri. The Raiders signed him as an UDFA to play linebacker. At one point he was playing in the WLAF with the Sacramento Surge. After becoming a starter for the Raiders, he signed as a free agent with the Rams in 1997 and was a starter for 4 seasons. Even though Jones was one of the leading tacklers on that 1999 Rams squad, he probably would rarely get mentioned if it weren't for his stop on Kevin Dyson that prevented the Titans from scoring a tying TD on the final play of the Super Bowl.
In the Big 12 Championship game, Baylor was leading Oklahoma State 21-16 in the final seconds of the game, but the Cowboys had one final snap, facing 4th down on the Baylor 1 yard line. The RB bounces the round to the outside and McVea was the only defender left who had a chance to keep him from scoring the winning TD. It was one on one with the championship on the line. The 2 players raced towards the corner pylon, McVea is able to get his hand up on the back collar of the RB and push him out of bounds as the diving RB comes up just inches short of scoring. McVea probably could get a free meal in Waco anytime he wants.
Pro Day: 5'9'' tall, 182 pounds, 29 7/8'' arms, 8 7/8'' hands, 73 1/2'' wingspan.
4.45 sec (40 time), 1.53 sec (10 yard split), 2.57 sec (20 yard split), 36'' vert, 10'1'' broad, 4.32 sec (shuttle), 7.36 sec (3 cone), 19 bench reps. At his PD, he thought his 40 time was going to be 4.41 seconds, but I went with the time reported by draftscout.
24 years old this season. His only Division 1 scholarship offer was to Texas Southern. Walk-on at Baylor, redshirted in 2016. Played on kickoff coverage in 2017 and continued to play special teams in 2018 and 2019. I watched a 2019 game it looked like he was primarily on KO coverage. Got a scholarship in the spring of 2019.
Played multiple DB positions in 2020. In 2021, started 4 games late in season. Had 27 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 PBU and a FF. Was a 6th year bonus redshirt senior in 2021.
Degree in geology, was a masters student in geology. Has an even keeled, upbeat and positive personality in interviews, can-do attitude, intelligent, mature.
Has a slender build, doesn't have a good pedal, didn't inspire confidence even as a split zone safety, got an INT when the QB was hit on the release. I don't know much about his special teams performance over his career, but there must have been enough there to get the Rams to sign him.
He has decent speed, upper body strength and ST experience, so maybe he has value on kickoff coverage, as a gunner or vise. One reason the Rams drafted Jacob Harris was because he was supposed to be a good ST player, but he tore his ACL last season. So, I wonder if the Rams will continue to use him on ST or if they will decide that it presents too much injury risk for him.
There could be some spots available for core ST performers, which would allow the Rams not to use players like Harris and Skowronek as much on ST units. If you go down the list of the WRs and the DBs for the Rams, there are players who either wouldn't be good on ST or to keep them from getting hurt the Rams probably would prefer not to use on ST, which means that the team has to come up with alternative candidates to do those jobs.
McVea is probably a longshot to make the team, but if he could emerge as an ace on special teams, there is a potential path for him to stay on the roster, perhaps even over one of the DBs who got drafted by the Rams. Earnest Brown was a 5th round pick last year and he got waived, then put on the PS. Being drafted is no guarantee that you'll make the opening day roster.