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Tell me why Rolando McClain is special

I am not a scout and do not pretend to play one on the Internet. I'm not a personnel guy. I don't know squat about grading players or projecting players. My gig is to tell you what the scouts I speak with tell me.

But I know a good football player when I see one. And I know a great one when I see one.

I haven't watched Rolando McClain enough to give a fair judgment on whether he's good or great. But in watching the videos below I kept waiting for the monster raves about to show up. And I waited. And I waited.

And that guy never showed.

I expected Ray Lewis. I expected Mike Singletary.

I got Rolando McClain. Just Rolando McClain.

I saw a guy that made routine plays. I saw a guy that didn't seem faster or more explosive than everyone else on his defense. I saw a guy that tackled high. I saw a guy that usually took the right path to the ball carrier, but not always. I saw a lot of tackles in which he cleaned up, rather than was the first guy on the scene. I saw a good, not great, blitzer.

I was impressed by McClain's ability in pass coverage. That stood out for me.

But dominant as a run-stopper? A man to be game-planned for? A game-changer?

I failed to see that.

What am I not seeing? What am I missing here?

All the draft pundits claim McClain is special, that he's the second coming of Dick Butkus. Well, McClain won the Dick Butkus Award last year, but I failed to see him as Dick Butkus.

I saw a player that played well on an outstanding defense. I saw a guy that obviously understood his assignments and carried them out. But this guy isn't even Patrick Willis, in my humble opinion.

So watch the videos and you tell me. What am I missing?

I'm two people from the magic 3k on twitter. Get me there and I'll stop whining about it already. 

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At first I was on the bandwagon.... But after watching his film I feel as if he's just a wrap up tackler that's always where the ball is.. 5 yards downfield doesn't that remind you of someone??? (Crowder) he seems like a solid player maybe with the talent to become better but when u watch his film and then watch someone like Eric Berry or Dez Bryant you ask yourself do we really need just another role player??? We need a superstar and we need one now.. Armondo u still piss me off at times but I'm backing you on this one you little son of a b1tsh J/k take care and thanks for keeping us informed especially now that there isn't much going on...

It would be nice to get Dansby, possibly antrell rolle, and who knows anquan boldin. Bring in those vets from Cards (who went to Super Bowl). Those three acquisitions would solidify 3 needs.

Then we can focus on adding younger talent in the draft. How about trading up and selecting the best NT available.

What I saw was a guy that was always in position to make the tackle. He missed a few. So what? His technique can be corrected.

What you don't see on film is that he's the first in the film room and last out. From what I've read is the guy lives for the game.

If you want the big name that made some highlight reel tackles but is an average player take Taylor Mays. And if you want to follow that approach welcome back to the 10 previous years of futile drafting.

I want the guy that wants to learn. The guy that wants to run the defense. All we have now is a lazy bum that would rather run his mouth than work on his game.

Maybe Satan is hyping him up to Fu$k us again... Say no to Alabama players!!!!!!!! LOL

I think well get the best defensive player on the board even if dez is there bc I the braintrust will stick to their draft strategy regardless of how tempting a guy like Bryant is.. Wouldn't b too shabby to grab dez then spend the other 8 picks on defense tho :/

Is there still a moron of the day award?????? Lots of candidates throwing their hat in the ring for that one today????? Wow!!!!!!!!!!

I'm suprised to see the comments about McClain having trouble tackling in the open field considering we were asked to watch the video and make an assesment from that. It would seem that people haven't watched the video because you would see that Rolando made 19 tackles in the open field. Of those 19 only 2 were assisted tackles. Of the 19 tackles, 15 were for no more 3 yards or they were for a loss. 1 was a huge 3rd down play (watched the game) where most of his defensive teammates were fooled to the left as he sniffed out the play to the right, made the tackle, and got his offense back on the field. There were only two of his tackles that were for over three yards and 1 COUNT IT,,,1 MISSED TACKLE. So 19 tackles with 16 for 3 yards or less and half of those in the backfield. So how could you watch that and say he has trouble tackling in the open field? This guy is an INSTANT upgrade over ANY LB we have. That along with bobbyd12s post tell you everything you need to know.

I think it would be a step back selecting any offensive player with the first two picks. Our defense was the problem last year. If we had a great defense last year things would have been much different. I've said it before on this blog, if the phins held our opponents to 16 points a game last year we would have finished 12-4. We need to sign Karlos Dansby. Once we do, McClain is an after thought. Then we need to sign a stud OLB with the 1st pick and get someone opposite Wake who can put pressure on the QB. NT is also a big need. I do agree that we need a WR and TE, but not as bad as we need LBs and NT. There's no point bringing in a high caliber offensive player if he's just going to sit on the bench all day because our defense can't get off the field....

Armando:

I think the reason why McClain is special is exactly what you stated and why we need him: He excells in coverage. If there was one major weakness on our D it was the fact that neither Crowder nor Ayodele could cover a TE or back out in the flat. It was embarassing to watch them in coverage. McClain would change that immediately plus he goes to the ball well, makes alot of tackles and all the other things he does well but maybe not great. He struggles when he is blocked, so did Zach Thomas but he was still a great LB. McClain may not be the second coming of Ray Lewis but he is exactly what this defense needs.

WestVaFins good to see u here, I was worried..took ur advice and turned on game last night and then proceeded to watch West Virginia get slapped down and schooled by UConn...what happened???

"And one of the biggest questions on him is if he is a three down player. There are those out there who say he'll have to come out in passing situations, that he's really just a run defender. That's not good enough for the #12 pick if it's true". Mark, you must have made that up because Rolando is known for his pass coverage skills. The suprising thing to everyone is his size mixed with speed that helps him in coverage. He has the ability to shift his hips in coverage to maximize spacing and cut off the open target on quick cuts. This is a trait that cb's are supposed to have but you would be hard pressed to find many linebackers who have it. All of these attributes are what makes him SPECIAL in pass coverage.

My opinion of McClain has always been that he is a top LB prospect but not significantly better than Weatherspoon on the inside.

For all those people stating that Weatherspoon is only an OLB, go back to his Senior Bowl interview when his advisors(who know more about football than anyone on this blog) said that he is either a 4-3 OLB or a 3-4 ILB.

In all McClain is overrated by some people on this blog who think he is the end all and be all of college players this year. He is not that much better than some of the other players discussed here.

Personally, I think the best moves the Dolphins can make is pay Dansby the $30 mill, trade down to acquire a 2nd pick and take Dan Williams if he's still there in the 1st, the best OLB on the board in the 2nd and another player to fit a role on D or WR/TE. The team would be much better off next year and beyond.

Enough with this Rolando McClain is king bullcrap.

HAHAHAHA bobby i guess i deserve that but if i may when they get to the foul line 43 times it is a little hard to win... We couldnt play defense with out the whistle blowing.

There's a lot of talk about trading down here. It's not that simple just to say trade down. There has to someone of value to another team there at 12. If it's a defensive player that dropped, then the Phins should pick that player. It would have to be an offensive player that drops , and it would have to be someone pretty special. Not saying it won't happen, just saying it's not something that should casually thrown out there as a possibility. LOTs has to happen between free agency all the way up to draft day for that option to exist.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ARMANDO!

Finally someone with some Dolphin Media Weight sees what I see. Focusing on McClain is a waste of time IMO. He may be good 3 or 4 years down the road but he will have very little impact next season. And in 3 or 4 years we'll be back into rebuilding mode.

I say use the pick to win NOW. That means trading it away. And that means all we need is another 1st round pick to get wilfork.

You just made Rob in OC's day Mando. As I'm sure you know, he has been preaching and arguing this every day for weeks now.

mando if you didn't box hem i wouldn't know its hem

Datajack good point and what makes it great is that CJ Spiller and Dez Bryant are going to be the reasons we will find a partner. And if one of the top two quarterbacks does a Brady Quinn and starts falling then there is another player that will help our cause. With three possibilities like that then trading back seems pretty reasonable...

I think James said it best, 'everyone is trying to find the perfect pick'. I don't think there are any perfect picks in this draft (the kid Nuh is close but he'll be long gone). I'm not sure what you expect from McClain, Armando. It seems to me one of the biggest problem on the Dolphins last year was their tackling and giving up big plays. From what I see from McClain he always seems to be around the ball and limits teams from getting extra yards. Ayodele and Wilson struggling with their tackling last year and I was disappointed in Crowder. We have a NEED for someone who can improve the team in this area.

It seems to me, Armando that you are hell bent against this guy (as you often are with Wilson) and I think a lot of your biases about this guy are coming out. Just so I'm clear, I know you love Graham and you want the 'Phins to pick him but how excatly are we upgrading out ILB's. You can't throw the same guys out there again this year and expect different results.

Last think I'll say....and I think someone already said it. This kid is young and he's still learning. He's smart and has good work ethic. Those are signs of someone who wants to get better. I say put your biases aside and welcome this guy to the fold if he is in fact our 1st round pick.

Los Lobos,

Two first round picks for Wilfork? When he may be a free agent next year and we can get him for free? As important as NT is, OLB is more important right now. We need pass rushers or we're going to get picked apart next year. NT is important against the run, but teams beat us throwing the ball last year not running it.

Craig M that linebacker core that you said cant put up different results... Hmmmm lets see same ones as an 11-5 team. Same on 7-9. Different results... Sorry.....If they pulled it off before when taylor and porter had good years then some help on the edge might be all they need. NOT saying McClain isnt my pick because i am undecided...

Mark in Toronto, the problem is Mark is that there are people on this blog who UNDER RATE McClain...The vast majority of America thinks McClain is one of the best in this country...ESPN poll of fans this morning had McClain in the top 5 players comining into the draft...you won't find one scouting web site, mock draft or anyone else saying McClain is not the number ONE linebacker in this draft...Read different papers from across this country and u will see people clamoring for McClain...Read the NY Post article on McClain, and the Giant fans are screaming for McClain...The fact is the people who think McClain is THE BEST far outnumber the people who would take someone else

WestVaFins,

The truth is any team can fall in love with the players you mentioned and trading down would be def be a possibility. So I agree. But I want to wait a bit and see what teams do in the offseason, and then see what happens when we roll down to that 10th pick or so. That's when we'll know for sure if trading down is viable, as opposed to possible. :)

Yeah i wanna see what we do in FA. What we need at that 12 spot could be alot different come april. prolly wont be but could be... I saw something on tv about the FREAKS... the five guys working out together... The DE from USC looked massive...

Los Lobos, why are we in rebuilding mode 3-4 years down the road? What do you base that on? This is a team that is young, is getting better and will hopefully be built to compete every year. I find that to be a very ignorant comment.

I agree with Bobbyd12 on what I see McClain being. I seriously dont think we win the bidding war for Dansby and McClain is the premier ILB this draft. Why would anyone want another year of Crowder and Ayodele. To see if there are any TEs that havent exploited and abused our LBs?

McClain is so special because he once had 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High

I don't think he is an automatic HOF player (but really, which pick ever is) as some people suggest but his coverage skills seem to outweigh the fact that you can't find game footage of him almost killing anyone.

He does seem to always be going in the right direction. He drops back in coverage really well (and let us think back and HOW MANY TIMES A TE KILLED US THIS YEAR).. so while I am not well versed on college players, I say this:

1. No one is a HOF lock coming out of college - so stop overrating him
2. I think he fills a huge need for the middle of our defense, fixing significant coverage issues, and being where the ball is. A good defensive QB..
3. I would not be dissapointed with him, but nor would I be dissapointed if we were actually able to trade back, get another good player and get extra pick (although that is easier said than done)

And ya, I keep waiting for Rob in OC to wake up and then shyt himself.. this blog is as close as I've seen to someone being able to write their own blog... since Rob has been hammering this out, almost verbatum, for weeks.

WestVaFins,

You lost me in your thinking. Was tackling and giving up big plays not one of the biggest area of concerns last year? The guys they had out there couldn't/can't get it done. That much is apparent. Hence, the reason for change. Ayodele is not a staring linebacker. We know that now. Crowder is never going to be what we hoped he could become. Wilson....who knows...I'm not as down on him as you guys are.

And I don't understand your comment about Taylor and Porter. We were 1-15 when they played together before. Taylor wasn't here when Porter had his 17.5 sacks and they were both pretty ordinary last year. I don't get your point.

When Rob wakes up and begins on here i am going to lunch HAHA!!!!!!

What the Dolphins need to do…

Draft: Trade down from 12 and try to get a late 1st and 2nd round picks or a late 1st, 3rd, 5th round picks. Then sign an OLB! We have to get 2 rookie starters and a special teams standout from the draft.

In House: We need to resign Chad Pennington and trade Tyler Thigpen. We need a leader, Chad all ready knows the system (he’s practically a coach), and we could use the extra draft pick from Thigpen.

Develop: Pat White (this guy has talent and play making ability, lets find his niche), Brian Hartline - future star!, Lex Hillard - shows promise, Patrick Turner - red zone target we desperately need!, and Wake - the killer.

FA: Upgrade at LB (Dansby) and S (Rolle) on defense and TE (Watson) on Offense

Trade For: NT & WR (Bolden)

Trade Away: Ginn, Porter (if possible) - get draft picks!!

Cut: Wilson and Torber

Coaching: Mike Nolan was the upgrade on defense that we needed. He will get more out of our current players on defense. This will be a much improved unit!

Another point I have, Crowder has had knee problems the past 2 years. ILB is the weakest position in the draft. Why go OLB at #12 when its extremely deep? Kindle, Graham, Morgan, Pierre-Paul, etc. There are just a couple ILB that are round 2 and up material

ricky sapp and eric norwood are excellent 2nd round OLBs

Your are right craig... I didnt mean that Taylor was here my mistake.. My thinking was our ILB were the same starters when we were 11-5 and when we were 7-9. I was not attacking your thinking just pointing out that you said you cant have the same people out there and expect different results. Well clearly you can... difference of four wins...

Agree with Yaya - you may argue that OLB or ILB is a greater need - but you have a much greater chance at getting value from the OLB position in round 2 or later than you do for the ILB position..

Assuming we don't pay Dansby..

Armando, do you have a word on where Cris Clemons is and on if he could start next year?

I know I've asked this like a zillion times, but it freaks me out that 1)it is the only position that we have NOBODY to play, 2)no rookie will be able to come out and start week 1 (no Eric Berry for us this year) and 3)I don't see any free agent filling the position (no Antre Rolle for us this year).

Dolphin Disciple,

YOur DREAMING!! Not a CHANCE we sign Dansby AND Rolle. Do you think all the other teams are sleeping and we're just going to steal these two guys. It will be interesting to see if we can get ONE of these guys. And I highly doubt you'll be able to get picks for Ginn and Porter (maybe a 4th or 5th for Ginn). Your not going to be able to trade for a NT. Teams aren't giving them up and if they are there's something wrong with them. Good luck trading back. It's what most teams are trying to do. The reality is we will probably be stuck at 12 and have some decisions to make.

I skipped the first fwe pages of posts but will read from hear on. I have a feeling that you will get ripped for this article Armando with all the McClain lovers on this blog. Only time will tell.

I do agree with you Armando. I have not seen much play by McClain, but I heard all this hype and did watch the National Championship game. In that game I don't feel he had any big time game changing stand out play, he was just in the right place most of the time (I guess). I think he is pretty good player, but to flat out say GREAT is pushing it a little bit. He didn't give me that WOW factor in the national championship game, but I still thought he played well

I don't want to trade down any picks lower then round 3...look at the stats for how many of those players stick around, become starters etc. You can find gems in rounds 4...sometimes in 5, and rarely in 6, 7 (percentage wise...now don't start quoting off player xyz on me...look at all the players drafted in those rounds). Look at those teams in the playoffs typically...from NE to others, and how they built through the draft...how many players are 1st rounders, 2nd rounders etc. I'd rather get 4 quality starters out of a draft then 1 above avg, 4 avg., and 4 that sit on reserve or on the practice squad.

Trading down is GREAT....you get more darts to throw at the board....however...yours odds of hitting a bullseye decrease rapidly. I'd rather trade up and hit the 4-5 spots we're targeting (FS, WR, ILB, OLB, NT) and get some quality players. We don't need more camp fodder...lord...we've gone through enough of that the last 10 years...

Although I've been following it for 30+ years, I've never played organised football in my life (I've played a lot of real fútbol), so I might not be a technique expert, but isn't this guy tackling very high, compared to what I've seen tacklers do in the NFL?

I love how people are talking about how overrated McClain is and then they want to trade for Dansby, Rolle, Boldin, Marshall, etc. These guys are good but will be overpaid based on the incredibly weak FA period. Also, just putting out there that I think Rolle is no better than Wilson(yes, I said it).

I have been telling everyone for 4 years Mclain was the wrong guy - let me go listen to Todd McShay and Mel Kiper and I will get back to everyone with MY thoughts - Thanks NJ

Got you now WestVa. Makes more sense.

I'm not saying McClain is the be all and end all. i just don't get all the criticism on here about him. I think people are afraid of another Ted Ginn pick....and I get that. But for every guy we look at for the 12 slot there are going ot be questions about him. McClain is better than anything we have at the position and shows a desire to get better. that's good enough for me.

Carlito, at least we know McClain will be a lazy shoe salesman!!!

Yeah i still am yet to decide on who i want... I want a defensive player but which one.... There are sooo many good ones. I wouldnt trash one of them to make another one of them look better either. I just like alot of the talent.

Dolphin Disciple-
Can I have some of whatever that is you're smoking on? And while we're at it, why dont we trade our 5th rounder for Peyton Manning,and maybe we can pry away Adrian Peterson from the Vikings?

I still think we should send the pick to Denver to get Marshall but if we had to go defence I'd rather drop to the bottom of the first round and take Brandon Spikes. I think Spikes is a better all around player than McClain and dropping down will get us a 2nd or possibly a 3rd. Whatever round we look for a OLB I just hope the Phins can get their hands on either Sergio Kindle or Ricky Sapp. I think Ricky Sapp will have a awesome combine and get moved into bottom of the first round or early second round.

WAITER ILL HAVE WHAT HES DRINKING HAHA

Is it possible that for one day that we could have no one mention Brandon Marshall's name on this blog?????????

bootang25,

glad somebody got it... I was starting to feel old...

Witchu mando!!! The dude swings everyone to the ground! Didn't c him lower his pads and run through someone!! I'd move back & get Michigan dude!! Belicheat has schooled the tuna in the draft the past 2 yrs; that changes this yr!

@ JAMES . Excellent posts. Well said. Great examples oad quotes from scout , coaches and teamates. No Need to say anything further. :)

Lmfao @ carlito . mando speaks and now the sheep follow. Great line

I love Brandon Marsh. Such a great place Id love to visit...

Actually I can tell you those videos are not designed to be highlights. So, if that was what you were looking for - sorry for the confusion.

I know the guys who made those videos and they don't do that.

By the way, I agree with CK, you are welcome for the videos. And if you want to see more prospects look here

http://www.universaldraft.com/

I believe that C.J. Spiller will give this team the most bang for the buck. The Dolphins will have the rest of the draft to take linebackers, safeties, and wide receivers. Spiller is one of those "do everything" kind of backs whether Brown is on or off the field.

Yeah guys give us a brak with all the Brandon Marshall stuff. It's not happening!!

WestVaFins - I use to be totally against Marshall, but I am not at a 25-75 for-against. Denver seems to be dropping his price and I think we could have many options to offer them that would be worth it. Rumors are now saying a 2nd rounder. I think we could do a conditional pick with them. Say we give them a 3rd, but depending on performance it could be a 2nd (yet this is all next year draft picks and not this year)...

I was always against him for a big reason that it would cost a lot, but with the price tag seeming to go down for waht Denver wants we may (and I say MAY) want to think about pulling the trigger on Marshall...

They guy had no other receivers in Denver and still was a beast and with no other WR's he was getting double teamed a lot. Also, not putting Orton down, but he had Kyle Orton throwing to him. Reminds me of Pennington somewhat...

" I'm not a scout nor do i pretend to be one, I'm not a personel and i don't know squat about grading players " ARMANDO SALGUERO. ENOUGH SAID. Marcus , i'm supposed to take a writer's word who just admitted he knows squat about scouting over actual scouts and coaches. since when is armando's words the end all that is everything ??? LMFAO !!!!.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NpRbgzYTY0

I'm with you Armando.

Check this guy out...And AJ Edds from the same school..

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