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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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Bootang , i just told you thomas was a cb before he was a safety. he can play cb but is a excellent safety.

Bootang why would you want to take him at cb with the 12 pick when we already have Smith and Davis?

Good post and points craig m

I'm watching the Alabama vs Kentucky game. Will post my thoughts when it is over.

I know what you said NJ. I needed to reword my ? I know he played CB but I was saying if you just judged him as a CB, I'd have him after Joe Haden, strong words for a S. And a perfect compliment to Yeremiah Bell. They would allow each other to do what the othe other does best.

ken did miami draft davis over butler ???. i know your from conn and have your butler bias but did i miss something. butler isn't even in davis's league when it comes to tackling and playing the run.

Take him as our S. You are misreading my point. He is a guy who could legitimately cover a teams #1 WR, so he would have good ability vs TEs and RBs. We would be very good against the pass, and even though Sean Smith had no picks, he is a ballhawk too.

wow same conversation everyday... im very excited for lunch... McClain is going to be a good player... If you dont think so then trade your Marino jersey in because that iwll most likely be the pick deal with it. NEXT........

Craig, did Crowder have 100 tackles last year? Yes. So why is his 100 tackles so insignificant and Curry's and Willis' so great? Because just having 100 tackles for a starting MLB in the NFL who played all 16 games is expected. No one is impressed with that. That is supposed to be a given.

Thanks for the calarification Bootang and I agree.


If McLain was the second coming of Butckus (or even Patrick Willis-like), he wouldn't be there at #12. But he can be a very good player and an obvious upgrade over Ayodele.

Anyway, I agree with you to say that OLB should be our primary focus with Porter gone, Taylor recovering, Anderson being Anderson and Wake not 100% ready yet..

Marcus asks me if I've ever seen a game that McClain played in and then admits that the only one he watched was the championship game... sounds like you're working with alot of good info there buddy...

Guys , i need to run . it's my mother's 65 birthday and i need to get her a cake and a present and then get back to work. I think i'm going to get a gift certificate at one of her favorite stores. You can't go wrong with that can you. Then a dinner tonight or over the weekend. Keep up the good work and keep the hits coming , armando will enjoy that.

Hey NJ:

You were right on who they would draft and I gave you the props for that. You have to admit that Butler has done very well. He may not play the run quite as well as Davis but both have played very well in coverage.

Imagine the secondary I just talked about. Mike Nolan would be able to use any kind of blitz he wanted, because he knows there are playmakers all over the back end. Yes the occasional bust in coverage would happen. But I see a lot of Ed Reed as far as range and ballhawk skills. Does E Thomas have the desire to put in the time in the film room that Reed does? Because that is what makes Ed Reed not just great, but a legitimate HOF candidate when he's all said and done.

Later NJ

Casey Hampton also getting the franchise tag.

If this was not a hi-lite reel but more a mix of "average" plays, aren't those the kind of plays that serious scouts are all over? You want a representative sample of what you're getting, not just his 10 best.

Marcus rookie in the past three seasons... Six with triple digit tackles... SIX??????? what was your point again... Pretty elite group it seems.. Cushing, Willis, Laurinaitis, Beason, David Harris, Jerod Mayo... Dang id like to be on that list....

Only players I would take at #12: McClain, Bryant, Earl Thomas. after that I would trade down, I liked Spiller at 12 until I saw he's been a 13-17 carry a game guy his entire collegiate carreer. #12 is to high for an all purpose back dont care who he is.

Ryan Pickett - Miami Dolphins next NT? Or are we bringing Jason Ferguson back for one more year?


Crowder had 52 tackles last season in 13 games and Ayodele had 71, so not great numbers by either guy. In fact, in Crowder's 5 year career he's only had 100 tackles twice. So, if we agree that 100 tackles is average (which I don't actually agree with), we can agree that both of these guys are less than average. Hence the need to upgrade the position. Attack McClain all you want but at least come up with a plan on how we're going to improve our tackling. Let me guess, you want to spend $10 million a year on Dansby who will be 29 years old next year and has some wear and tear on his body.

Argue all you want. The trifecta know where the problem areas are and this will be corrected!!

Craig, Crowder and Ayodele combined only had 5 more tackles than Karlos Dansby, that's how pathetic our ilb play was last season.

NT play was highly critized when Ferg went down, but perhaps IMO it was a combination of NT play, ILB play, and defensive scheming by our ex DC.

What up fellers? And gals?

So Casey Hampton will be franchised by the Steelers, as expected. Another NT bites the dust.

Oh, and Wayne Fontes, my boy Brandon Graham was a stud all season long, not just the Senior Bowl. Just saying.

LUNCH TIME YAY!!!!!! back in thirty!!!!!!!!!!

West VA, thats what I am talking about six rookies have had 100 tackles in the last 5 years... Their should be one every year because if you play MLB, play 16 games, you shuld get 100 tackles.... Zach use to get 160... 100 is nothing...

Craig, no I don't want Dansby... I'm just saying if the guy is average, you don't take him 12th overall. You say he is special? Great. I'm not so sure.

Carlito, I ask you a question and do you answer it? No. You throw an insult. I told you what game I watched. Do you even know who is on Alabama's schedule?

Thank you DyingBreed. Another voice of reason!! I'm really not sure what all the debate is about. McClain fills a big need for us. Nobody is saying he is the second coming of Dick Butkus or Ray Lewis at this point but he does upgrade and improve our team and that's a good thing.

I know guys like to take shots at Wilson on here but did anybody ever think that Wilson was forced to make a lot more tackles that he should have because the other guys couldn't get it done. Eveyone wants to blame Wilson but look at what Ayodele and Crowder contributed....next to nothing!! This problem will be fixed!!

Armando I think McClain's the most well rounded lb in the entire draft with leadership skills off the charts. I believe we also need young leaders moving forward too. Gotta have that glue to hold everything else together dont you think?

This is what you get when you have someone that doesn't have to answer for his actions. He goes on TV, gives his analysis, b*tches and moans when people don't listen to him, and then goes off to the next year.

Marcus is it fair you just watched the BCS game and said McClain didn't impress you, but you failed to mention the guy was out the whole week with a stomach virus and was barely cleared to play.

It doesn't matter weather you like him or not people more knowledgeable on the subject than you or I rate him the best ILB in the draft.

Marcus I am an SEC and ACC fan, I watched most of Alabama's games this year, thank you... I think it is ridiculous to make an absolute assessment of a player after watching one game... LMFAO.

Yeah Mando- McClain sucks and its true! If your "highlight real" does not show you making plays in the backfield...uh-oh!

P.S. asking a question and throwing the first stone are 2 different things

Peace out peoples

Mando, gave in and am now following you on twitter!!! Did you get 3000 yet?

Dyingbreed, all I know is that I expected/hoped to see more from the views of him on youtube that I saw.

I wish I had coach's film to look at the entire season. Maybe that will show a different player. But from what I saw below, the guy is just good. But not great.

I do know this, Nick Saban loves him. So that says something because for all you can say about Saban's departure from Miami, he can coach defense. No doubt about that.

I'm hearing that he's not that explosive and he doesn't jump off of the film when you study him. I've also been hearing some analyst question his motor. These comments remind me of the remarks made about Vernon Gholston. Not saying he's going to be a bust but can't help seeing the similarities in these comments.

I haven't seen enough of him play so I won't pretend to know. I just hope that the Fins get a difference maker at what ever position they acquire.


I didn't say he was special. I said he has a chance to be special. We need to upgrade the position and he's the best option at this point in time. Instead of criticizing him, give me a better plan and I will listen.

Bootang, I appreciate you following me. I am indeed over 3k now. I will not ask for more followers now. Tomorrow is another story.

I think you answered your own question.

What you should do is compare/contrast McClain with the guy you like (is it Graham???) to validate, in your opinion, why the other guy is the better option.


Gholston is a different type of player, so don't compare. Gholston was NEVER the kind of tackling machine that McClain is. He was never around the ball as much. Gholston was a FREAK, who's skills haven't transferred well to the next level. Gholston has risk/reward written all over him. I just don't see that with McClain and I don't hear any of the experts saying it either.

I am getting a little frustrated by this whole draft/free agency thing because it becomes more clear how many needs the Dolphins have. There are a bunch.

It's starting to worry me.

To me, Graham is a more accurate comparison to Gholston. I actually like Graham, so I'm not going to criticize him here but I think you could ask the same type of things about Graham that some people asked about Gholston coming out. Can his skills transfer to the next level. I think they can but you just never know for sure.....and please guys, don't take this as me bashing Graham....that's not what I'm doing. I'm just saying he has the same type of risk/reward written all over him.

Gotta go guys.....cheers!!

By the way, at 1 p.m. Mike Mayock is having a conference call to discuss the draft/combine.

We'll see what he says about McClain and others and I'll report back to you guys.

Dear Mr. Salguero

Since you asked.

"Tell me why Rolando McClain is special"

1 - Played on the same team that starred Terrence Cody.(like Scotty Pippen playing with Micheal Jordan )

2 - Hand picked by Diablo himself Nick Saban to lead his army of darkness.

3 - Was your # 3,000 Twitter follower.

4 - Was tutored by Forrest Gump(Forrest went to Alabama on a football scholarship)

Soiled :)

I agree Craig. I’ve been saying for quite a while that our ILB play weakened our whole D especially on the back end. You can’t have average TEs running amok in the middle of the field every freakin game and having the top flight TEs winning games single-handedly against us.

I don’t know whether McClain is going to be great or not. I leave that to Parcells and company to decide if he is the choice or if it’s one of the others, but I do want to see our LB core especially our ILBs upgraded. We need an ILB that is not a horrible liability in coverage because with Ayodele and Crowder we have a huge mismatch in our base D every single game.

There is one guy whose opinion of Brandon Graham I would love to hear: Jake Long.

Armando, try and get any info on Earl Thomas too. Would love to hear if he would fit with Miami and their secondary like I think.

kyphinphan, I was honest in what games I watched. I'm not like alot of people on here who don't have an opinion and just spout what other people are saying. I didn't know he had a stomach virus that week.

Craig, I am on here giving a difference of opinion. Not really bad mouthing the guy. Just speaking on his value versus the value of the 12th overall pick. I also wouldn't say he is a tackling machine. There were some games where he only had 2 or 3 solo tackles.

all this talk about Mclain or Bryant. What about Arrelious Benn? he looks like a better all around receiver than Bryant and is projected in the first-second round. I've watched the footage of bryant and while he has great hands, you'll see he's never wide open. Translation - poor route running. we already have one of those (Ginn) dont need another. watch the footage.


Check out Benn's highlights. He's wide open on several routes and he has better size and speed than Bryant. plus he's a model citizen

Bryant - 6'2" 220 - 4.57
Benn - 6'2" 221 - 4.48

see for yourself


Mando just put on the twitter that Gil Brandt says Parcells will go OLB or WR in the first round... Discuss...

Kelly, you just compared Dez to Ginn'????? HAHAHa tell us another joke ////

I think the main thing a first round pick needs to do is become a starter. I dont think he'll be the 2nd coming of Butkus or even Willis but I do know he would start out the gate. Isnt one of our goals to at least get 2 starters(this year) out of this draft? Thats one!

Ask Tim Tebow if we should pick Mclain.

Roll Tide!!!

Hey guys... Hot off the presses from a real scout... Daniel Jeremiah who worked for the Ravens and Browns as a scout... His opinion of Rolando McClain...

15. SC: And McClain?

DJ: “He’s a good player but I don’t think he’s an elite player. He’s not Patrick Willis or Jon Beason or any of the three USC linebackers that came out last year (Matthews, Cushing and Maualuga). I think he’s more like Karlos Dansby of Arizona, more of a finesse linebacker than some of those names that I mentioned. Then you have to look at how he’s going to fit into a Mike Nolan defense. Mike likes a thumper, a real tackler and then a freelance floater, a guy that can get out to the perimeter and make plays on the edge. So you have to look and see whether McClain’s a floater or a thumper and some people think he’s going to be the thumper, but I think in Mike’s system he’s the floater. He’s very instinctive, a flow and feel guy. But at 12? I don’t know. I really don’t”

Exactly what I have been saying...

Bobby, sorry I missed your retort - was out for a few hours. My point wasn't that McClain won't be a good player. I just had 2 points:

1. rather have Dansby to fill that role to free up the draft pick

2. rather trade down out of the McClain derby. I don't think McClain is appreciably better than Weatherspoon. Weatherspoon can do everything McClain can and possibly more. he's just 15 pounds ligher but still big enough at 240+

And finally, I don't care how many people are riding McClain's jock right now. Everybody from Alabama this year was a tad overrated. You really think Ingram was the best college player this year? he wasn't even the best back in college ball. Alabama were everyone's sweethearts and thereby given extra love. No point even replying to this message because nothing is going to change my mind. Only time will tell who's right.

Marcus, if it's OLB, it better be Derrick Morgan.

So how is por scout Jeremiah's opinion any different from Mando's who spent maybe 20 minutes watching the two utube videos. Seems like its the same opinion.

I think it just proves that what you see is what you get... Youtube or tape...

Do you all really think that McClain is not worth the 12th pick??????

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