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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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most mocks have griffen as a 15-20 pick, so it could be a little high, but at #12 i think you need to walk away with that selection saying we selected a player with talent that you dont see every draft, i also think if you go OLB you need a guy that come come in and play weak as well as strong side at times, b/c cam wake is our one dimensional pass rusher thats why i dont like Jerry hughes as much as others for our team because we have that already.

-----Pierre-paul has that ability and so does everson griffen---you can find tape on him ----he looks a lot like a bigger freeney to me----very coordianted side to side with burst and some moves---in a 6"3 280 body--he is from USC---
I think williams will be cut because chargers will select Cody---and they drafted a young NT last year

Your right with spikes he might not be there, but i think spikes and mcclain will hurt thier stock with 40 times even though i believe that drill has very little to do with projecting a solid ILB----its the naute of the beast tho it will effect them both, and every draft it seems like a good ILB drops far because ILB isnt the most valuable position in draft---like USC rey mauluga last year

How many of you have seen him play on saturdays before Cody arrived? The guy is over rated. He plays 5-6 yds off the line in Alabama's scheme of the 3-4.I know our LB's play 3-4 yds off the line. They have to plug the holes quickly and make tackles. They have less time to react plus to make tackles. The guy can't get off blocks without a NT protecting him. He's good playing 5-6 yds off the line but not many teams play that way. Look at his videos from his freshman and sophomore years when he had to play 3-4 yds off the scrimmage. Then ask yourself if he played for Kentucky or Florida's 3-4 system if he would have been as highly regarded by scouts and draft websites. I like our own LB's better than him.

Trade up and get Dez Bryant!

Mando, I just jumped on the Brandon Graham bandwagon. McClain and Kindle look like weak sauce after watching the three. Graham has big speed and brings the wood!

Damn, now Pickett is being franchised. Thats the guy I really wanted as a FA NT, and who I thought we'd be able to afford, in the thinking of the trifecta.

Oh well, now looks like for sure NT just became a must have somewhere in the draft.
I'm thinking Thomas or Troupe.

Yeah! Graham's got excellent sauce ... and wood

Howdy Fin Fans,

I picked the wrong day to miss a blogfest!

Armando, we will have to synchronize our schedules better on all McClain posts. Haha.

I read through every last comment and just have a few things to add.

One, Thanks to Lipsin, Joey in Jersey, I AM ALWAYS and even WestVAFin for the comments! You're never really dead until no one remembers you were alive, even if NJ and crew can't say my screen name.


Great blog question Mando!

One cont. raging debate is ILB vs OLB.

OLB Sitch:

JT: 37 years old, playing out of position, slowing down, was great now unclear
Cam Wake: I love the guy but I wonder what the heck the Brass saw that said they couldn't/wouldn't throw add more play time. Porter was a shell of himself so he should have been able to earn more time?


ILB Sitch:

Crowder: Good not great, steady tackler, starter 11-5, 7-9 team, knocks lacks big plays, 10 years younger than Taylor...just saying.
Ayodele: Starter, Ok tackler, had down year, 6 years younger than Taylor.

I believe OLB is MUCH bigger concern than ILB.


Myth: The ONLY ILB is McClain?

I think Weatherspoon would be a GREAT option. He is a HUGE Leader...simply watch the Senior Bowl as well as track his college career. The guy tries to bring fire to any huddle/bench like Ray Lewis does with his def mates. He gets teammates fired up ala JP the departed one. He is not 258lbs like McClain but is the same size as Patrick Willis coming out at 6'1" 240+ lbs. He is very active and runs faster to attack and fill vs run. He also plays off blocks better and plays with great awareness.

McClain is a super highly touted (doesn't make any list right), servicable guy that doesn't leap out on film to me and others. He could vie for a starting position. I am not just a bashing him and believe what I see in real games over what people say.



I'm a brazilian fan of Miami and can't say that I'm an expert talking about football. But I'll try!

I like the way McClain avoid blockers. He can avoid a lot of them and still make the tackle. When he can´t make the tackle, the RB has to change direction to avoid the LB and his Lineman. McClain just refuse to eat some grass.


Finally, right on the money Mando. Mclain is a waste of a first round pick. We need playmakers.

I;m with you, in McClain I see good, not great. One thing that really concerns me, I saw him several times this year as well as in your highlights, and it seems to me that Tide defensive line really kept him clean. Seldom, if ever did he have to take on a direct block from a guard or center. This concerns me, as an NFL ILB you have to constantly fight off blocks of 320 pound guards and even 250 pound fullbacks. We simply havn't seen McClain have to do that. Can he do that? It looks like he really got covered up by Mount Cody at 'Bama. I don't think I saw a dominant enough player to warrant our #12. He just did not jump off of the screen to me. He made the plays he should have made, but nothing out of the ordinary. My fear is that he could just be another version of Channing Crowder, an OK pro LB. We need more than OK, we need dominant. Watch the tapes of both and you come away far more impressed with Sergio Kindle. He looks the part of a real playmaker, he takes on blocks, beats his man off the edge in pass rush, and is a relentless pursuer from sideline to sideline. He seems to be the far more explosive player to me. Just my take but watch many clips of both and I think you'll see what I mean. Don't always believe the hype on a certain player. Sometimes they benefit greatly from the system they play in and the talent surrounding them. I fear that might be the case with McClain.

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