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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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Michael Jordan didnt really jump out at you on film in college either but every single year just kept getting better and better. I believe McClain has both the mental and physical tools to do that each season too.

Only thing I got outbid that video was a headache.

I hate texting. "out of"

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

Posted by: Armando Salguero | February 23, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I mentioned that in the article you wrote about Graham. The wuestion was asked to Graham who the toughest OL he faced. I was surprised he didn't say his own teammate in which he went against for 2 years. Also, noted that I would like to hear what Henne thought also...

For those that say we have to take Graham if he is available, I don't see why we "have" to take him. I could see us going for Graham or Kindle and still think it would be a good pick at #12

IMO if we get McClain once we add more physical strength to him the weight room for a season or two he'll be an absolute nfl beast ilb. College players also dont get to be the weight room and workout warriors they can become in the nfl because of thier class studies.

You guys are comparing a basketball legend to football...isn't that somewhat comparing apples and oranges? lol

Guys like McClain are a dime a dozen.
Sign Antonio Pierce, trade Cam for Adelious Thomas and draft CJ Spillar at 12.

Did you watch the footage, did you see him blanketed nearly EVERY time. i wasn't saying he's the same as Ginn, Dez can actually catch. He has great hands. but if he can't run a route and burn a DB or two he's not gonna get the YAC. And in todays NFL, it's all about YAC. Bottom line is I think Benn has a better chance of being the next Randy Moss or T.O. "type" of player with his size, speed, and route running.

DyingBreed - Why would you take McClain over Graham or Kindle?

WVAF, my first question is why use the pick on a player when you can solve it just as well with free agency (Dansby), and then use the pick to fill another position.

If you can't get him in free agency, then we should consider using the 12 on an ILB.

2nd question is, if you can get an ILB that is just as good with the 20th pick (Weatherspoon) and you find a trade partner and get yourself another 2nd pick, why not trade down?

To me, the issue is maximizing resources and the overall team vs. falling in love with an individual player.

Indiana I believe Hughes out of TCU can be just as effective as Graham and he's projected late first, early 2nd rounder. Hughes is also projected potentially better in pass coverage in conversion to olb than Graham too.

I just do not see a whole lot of difference with McClain over some others rated just a few spots above him in which he gives the extra "WOW" factor. Where is his "WOW" factor?

I think it also depends on our front office on whether they think we need ILB or OLB with the 12th pick. It would be different if Graham and McClain played the same position and we were debating 2 players at the same position, but we debating 2 players at 2 different positions. Should the debate be more of a position debate or player debate?

Still waiting on the reasons why though...

Can anyone convince me where McClain gives the extra "WOW" factor over the other players being debated?

Indiana the comparison to Jordan in college is just to show sometimes the intangibles can be clearly missed on college game film. The reason I would take McClain over Graham is:

1. Hughes out of TCU can be just as good a value as Graham and he's projected as late as early 2nd rd. USF's Jason Pierre is rated higher according to McShay and Kiper.

2. The weakest link in our front 7 is the triangle( nt, lolb, and rolb).

If we got Dansby our options change, either we still get McClain and try to trade Crowder. Take Texas free safety Earl Thomas if Dez Bryant isn't available, or trade down and get DT Dan williams to convert to NT.

What do you think?


It's a positional debate. Where do we think we need someone more. You go OLB and there are several options. You go ILB and theres only one. It just depends on where you think we have the greatest need, who is the greatest value, etc.

Nobody should have to be convinced of a WOW! Factor or a crushing tackle factor or anyother "factor" McClain does what a solid player does, he goes where the ball is on running plays, fights through blocks and "has proven" he can drop back in coverage and defend a pass, unlike oh Graham, who only says he should be able to do it....McClain has proven he is an all around solid player...PERIOD

I agree with Indiana. The point here is not whether McClain is rated higher than Graham or Kindle, it's that Graham and Kindle fill a position of much greater need than McClain. We need pass rushers. That's our #1 need right now with JP out and JT at 50/50 to return. I would draft the best OLB on the board, regardless of whether McClain is there or not. There's a sure thing a ILB available out there by the name of Karlos Dansby. The best thing about him is he will only cost money. Money is much easier to make in the NFL than draft picks.


Although I normally agree with you, in this area I do not. McClain is the freak that everyone makes him out to be and will make all the plays. I love your last comment, "But this guy isn't even Patrick Willis, in my humble opinion." Like Patrick Willis is chopped liver, he's the best in the game right now in my opinion, so I agree he is not him, but he can be and it's all about that potential.

If we go ILB I would say definately McClain if he is available, but like a few of you agree it is a position debate. I think OLB is more of a need for us, especially if we lose Taylor and we already know we are losing Porter. With that said I think OLB is more of a NEED for us than ILB (if we don't resign Taylor). I just feel Graham is very explosive and going to be a stud (just opinion). I do not know enough about Kindle though to debate who we go after for OLB. The fact is defense is deep and I think we go defense with 1, 2 and 3 (depending on what we get in free agent world).

Like yaya said: greatest value is where we are going to go I believe.

bobbyd12 - The thign about McClain not having that WOW factor is he was on a great defense all around, so could he slightly be a product of a good system and not as high player as people think compared to Kindle or Graham?

Mark - other players than just McClain have potential. I just feel most or most the McClain lovers are thinking to one sided to a certain degree.

More will be clearer in about a week and half when the FA period really heats up...

Everyone questioning me i will remind you that i am undecided as to who i want in the first. But that being said he is def. a top 20 pick...


10 million a year isnt chump change. The guy is 28 and his best years are probably behind him. There is no guarantee that we even get him. Has parcells paid top dollar for anyone since he's been here?

McClain is closer to being the sure thing than Graham making the transition to OLB. He IS a DE right now. Im not sure we can even get McClain but he fills as much of a need as OLB does.

yaya - Elite LB's still play great and have good years beyond 28 years old IMO...

The question is would he be worth the big money if we can get 4-5 really good years out of him and I say yes, but it is obviously hard to predict the future. I see Rolle coming to Miami before Dansby IMO

i am glad you formed your own opinion Mando...good for you. WE NEED TEBOW!

there is absolutely no way that sergio kindle can be a 1st round pick. if the dolphins take kindle i'd be surprised and upset. he cannot pass cover or stop the run. he would be another version of joey porter only smaller. highly doubt he will be a 1st round pick for us at #12.

same goes for brandon graham. it would be a complete disaster and waste of a 1st round pick. you can't waste your 1st round pick (especially at 12) on a guy who can't even play what you want him to yet. it's to much risk for potentially not enough reward. so i think the smart thing to do is not even look his direction on the 1st round.

those 2 videos you posted of rolando mcclain are meant to show his good and bad. they show you an even amount of each. i think he makes more good than bad plays but in those videso, the purpose are to show you both his up and down side. i really like him, i think the dolphins should take him at number 12 no questions asked unless we're debating over him, Eric Berry, or Dez Bryant. mcclain will be an immediate upgrade over akin ayedele and maybe even over crowder. in my opinion i think Pat Angerer should also be made a dolphin. he's undersized (like zack thomas) but boy does he make plays everywhere. he is truly amazing. i would love to see us draft both Rolando McClain (1st round) and Pat Angerer if he were to fall as low as say 4th (which i doubt). i think theyd both be upgrades from the clowns we have at ILB now. and theyre both young and hungry. both have a lot to prove. both would learn quick and both are playmakers.

this was a silly article to read. didn't enjoy it. stop pushing for brandon graham at #12. there's no way we will take him there or that he should even be considered that high to a team running a 3-4.

Graham...short arms, never played in 3-4 would have to learn pass defend. Sergio Kindle avoids physical contact, likes to finesse has hard time coming off blocks...Rolando McClain doesn't tackle hard enough. Are u people for real??? I'm serious, both Kindle and Graham have some work that needs to be done AND YOU PEOPLE are worried about a WOW factor, ur out of ur minds


I would love to get Dansby. Im just using the thinking that Parcells will when he thinks about that 10 mill a year. I think he would be worth it but BP is stingy(for good reason).

Rolle on the other hand Im against. He was rated worse(than Wilson) by at least one data site. He showed me very little and is way too expensive. I didnt like Pasq as our DC and maybe Nolan can get more out of Wilson. Either way I believe we keep him this year and the point becomes moot.

ERNEST WILFORD!!!! just got resigned for 600k....

Trifecta EGG ON YOUR FACE....

I dont know which is the worst move in Fins Recent History

1) Ted Ginn at # 9
2) Ernest Wilford big time contract as #1 receiver

Brian Westbrook has been released...

They just keep coming!!

The reason I would be happy if we draft McClain in the 1st is because after him, there is a big drop at the ILB position, especially 3-4 ILB. We can get a top talent at OLB in the 2nd....not so for ILB. That said, I definitely agree that Graham or Kindle, or even Pierre Paul will be better players and probably more valuable at the 12 spot. What makes this decision so tough is that both positions are obvious positions of need.

Please stop saying we need TEebow, we have our own cheerleaders already and we do not need the super powers of Christianity he preaches. Je is a glorified special teams player at best. We do not waste 12th pick on mcclain trade it for wr or trade back and take graham later he is our LB cure, not MCLain

There is only ONE ILB in this draft that can come in right now and play the 3-4 and is good enough to do it...there are plenty of OLBs in here that will be there in later rounds....If u guys are thrilled with Akin and Crowder being the guys, that's fine, I'm not

ERNEST WILFORD!!!!!! # 1 Receiver.....

Look, I think McClain is our best pick at #12 but Jax and Denver have 1st dibs and have a great chance of taking him. I think anyone we mention outside of McClain can be traded down for. That may not happen but #12 is a coveted spot so its pretty likely. I have faith in our management and will be here for the draft day party and the fun.

Ernest goes to camp

oliver rubber - Please just SHUT UP. What the HELL is Tebow going to do for us.

bobbyd12 - I never stated Kindle or Graham have that wow factor either. I just feel we can't go wrong with either 3 at the #12 position. One thing though is you talk about Graham having "short arms", really that is the best you got. Dumervil is what 5' 10" or 11" and he led the league in sacks. You think Kindle and Graham need work, but that is your opinion, maybe not our front office opinion. I do like Graham over Kindle if I had to chose between them 2 guys.

bobbyd12 - If we trade down we are still not guaranteed to get who we want to trade down for...just a side thought

Raiders are looking to dump players....
Send the Gebril packing for Richard Seymour

Detroit thinking of trading down. Here is a question I have for all. How much would it cost a team to trade that far up in the draft.

I am not saying we do it, but just thinking what it would take to make the trade that far up in draft...

Waterboy - Raiders already said they not letting Seymour go anywhere, but I would like a trade for him if it was cheap. lol

My wife didn't like me at first but then I show her my wow factor...

Are you guys serious?

Wow factor?

I leave for a few hours and come back to wow factor... lol!

Trade Ginn to the Raiders for their #1 pick and have JeMarcus Russel through it the 70 yards to Ginn every play and he can just run past everyone...HAHA!!! j/k but the Raiders could be that dumb to actually do it!! :)


It would take quite a bit. Only player Id trade up for talent wise is Suh and we have too many holes to do it.

I do not want Miami to trade up, but more curious to know what it would take any team to actually do it...

carlito from golfito - Only thing I am saying is that everyone wants to mark McClain down as the concensus #12 pick no matter what and all I am sayin is that he does not stand out to me that much more, if any, than a few other options we have. The "wow factor" is more of an analogy or descriptive aspect. What is wrong with "wow factor"? Now one person showing the wow factor is Suh. That is in a sense what I am referring to...

Trade Ginn for Seymour Butts.

JabaMarcus to Ginn for Touchdown!

Who do u think Carlito?

other blog is up ladies and gentlemen

Wow factor was Dough Boy Cody when he took off his shirt.
If Dough boy shows up at 340 lbs at the combine, I can hear people jumping on his bandwagon.

I for one will stick to my mantra
Why are people franchising NTs? They are hard to get!


I'm wowed


I completely disagree with you. At 28 Dansby is still young enough to be an impact player for a long time. Second of all, there's no way in hell you can argue that ILB is as much a need as OLB. We have 2 returning, starting ILBs. They need to be upgraded, but they are there. Who do we have at starting OLB assuming JP and JT are not there? And even if JT comes back it's for 1 more year. McClain is not a sure thing by any means. He's never played a down in the NFL. Dansby has been franchise tagged twice. He's the real deal. I would get an OLB or NT before I would even consider McClain at ILB.

Teams shy away from trading up the last few years....the % increase in salaries is getting too costly.

For McClain I have one question...was ZT the hardest hitting linebacker? Didn't he have trouble covering TE's? Did he scare the bejezzus out of people? No, yes, and no.

You know what made ZT special? What made him a cut above the rest? His intelligence and love for the game. Everything I have heard, from not only Alabama's coaches, but others like Les Miles at LSU say McClain is extremely intelligent if not one of the brightest they've seen. McClain doesn't make many mistakes, he doesn't bite on fakes, and he can cover. He is always where he needs to be, and if you don't believe it, there are a ton of other ILBs that could have won the Butkis award...but they didn't.

I have high expectations for him personally. Do I think he'll be a Ray Lewis? I don't know...but if you expect one guy to match up to either Lewis, Thomas, Urlacher, to name just a few, of the hundreds that have played that position over the last 10+ years, maybe you need to readjust your expectations. You shouldn't expect every 1st round draft pick you get to bet a potential HOF'er...it's just not possible.

If I get a 1st rounder, that's 1) not a bust and 2) in the top 20% of the league...he was a great pick.

Whether it's McClain, Graghm, Ordick, Morgan, Bryant, whoever.... this is getting ridiculous with people's expectations and comparison's to other players when the avg. expectancy of a player is about 3 years in the league....let along to be HOF material, which is who you are comparing them against. Please....

I keep telling you Armando that Sergio Kindle is the linebacker we need to get if we go defense. He can for sure play outside and is big enough to play inside too. Go check him out on youtube and tell me differently.

But I would prefer one more playmaker on offense. The three I really like that could be available at #12 are: 1) Dez Bryant. 2) CJ Spiller. 3) Golden Tate.

We have the combines this weekend so stock should move up and down as a result.

I believe I am sick and tired of batting the number 12 pick back and forth... There isn't one person here who has a clue who this team is going to grab. And, until the Free Agent pool is played out... we don't even know what the needs will be. I honestly expect Miami to make a very hard charge... I mean serious money charge at Dansby. As I have said in every post... Dansby would change the entire dynamic of this draft. No one knows about #12 until FA is played out. I would love to hear what people had to say about picks in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th Rounds.... This is where Miami will either Boom or Bust #12 is just that... 1 pick, one guy... and he will not be the make or break... 2nd through 6th Rounds will be the picks who set us into the next 4 years.

I think it depends on where you see Dan Williams as being available. If I thought we could get him in the second round, I would be willing to invest in McClain, but I wouldn't pass up Williams to get him.


Nobody is saying that Dansby's not a good player. But there are other teams that will be in on him too and how high do you want to go for a 28 year old linebacker. He's good but he's not great!! Take a look at his numbers for tha last few years. Good, not great. Is he worth $10 million a year? That's probably what it's going to take. And then we hear AZ Phin tells us that nobody is sad down in Arizona to see him go. If he was that good wouldn't the fans be screaming to keep him?

I also don't think anybody is saying that OLB isn't a need on this team. But it's been said many times that there are lots of good quality OLB's available in this draft that we can get in the 2nd round and later. How exactly do you propose that we upgrade our tackling, 'cause it's just not good enough with some of the guys we've got?

I think mcclain will be a solid pro but if i compare value of drafting him at #12---when we can draft brandon spikes in the second round----i think there is more value for that type of young elite size ilb--If your a mcclain or Spikes fan you know puttn your emotions aside they are clearly comparable with size leadership qualities, and unique fit in a 3-4---because both have the size to move outside in blitz packages.

For the Spikes haters just understand he played in a 4-3 in Florida and i think thats why he has more bad tape then mcclain---if spikes was playing in a 3-4 behind Cody---i honestly think he would of put up similiar stats to mcclain---

I say all this because i think the biggest need is upgrading all 4 spots at linebacker

Our 1st round pick candidates in my mind----

1. Jason pierre-paul---i see him off the board to oakland
2. Everson Griffen--to me is a supersized raw version of dwight freeney----check his tape out----super coordianted great burst and spin move---and weighs 280 at 6"3---potential to play strongside
3. Sergio kindle--i like him but not as much as first two- i think he isnt as fluid an athlete as griffen and is one-dimensional is pass rushn skill set---i liek his versitlity to play inside our outside in a 3-4

1. Sign dansby
2. Wait for adalius thomas to be cut by Pats then sign him---he has some age but is 32---way younger then taylor gives us some leadership and has a past with playing well on Ravens with mike nolan---i think he has some left also because everyones numbers suffer in a bellichick 3-4 cause they are not agressive--too much zone
3. In the second round grab Brandon Spikes---he is a perfect fit for us like mcclain but we can get him later and for less money---also allows us to use our 1st pick on a pass rusher

Dansby, Adalius, Griffen, Spikes, Wake, thats a nice rotation---

U heard it here first wait for veteren NT like jamal williams from chargers to get cut

Can't disagree with too much that you've said there, allen. Most of what you've come up with is pretty solid. Not sure about the Griffen pick and I'm not convinced Spikes will be there when we pick in the secound round. He's be a nice addition, but I just feel he might be gone when we pick again. I don't know enough about Griffen to comment on him but I think to take him at 12 might be a bit of a 'reach'. I'm also not sure Williams will be cut by the Chargers. If he is that would be a good pickup. I'm assuming you think they are going to resign Merriman? I'm not convinced of that either and I feel if they let him go they won't have to cut Williams.

Hey NJ you Jackass - if you read my whole post you would have seen the joke. Now go watch NFL and tell us thier eeerrrr your views on the draft

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