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Kiper: Dolphins will debate McClain and Bryant

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has the Dolphins picking Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain with their No. 12 overall pick of the first round in the upcoming draft.

But Kiper believes the Dolphins will have a healthy and perhaps heated discussion whether to go with McClain or Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant if the wide receiver is on the board when Miami selects.

"Dez Bryant, I think he'll be in the discussion, but you look at him and he could go higher," Kiper said today on a nationwide conference call. "I have him going at No. 10 to Denver still ... [The Dolphins] certainly need wide receiver help and you got to get it at some point and I think they will try get in this draft.

"But at that point, I think McClain would be the best option if Bryant's gone. And even if Bryant's there it's going to be a heck of a discussion, I would think, even if Bryant is still on the board."

Yeah, I could see that discussion going something like this:

Jeff Ireland: Bill, we've got a wide receiver and a linebacker on the board and ...

Bill Parcells: I'm Bill freakin' Parcells and I love linebackers.

Ireland: Linebacker it is.

Seriously, the Parcells penchant for drafting linebackers is well-known. And picking McClain, whom Kiper says has "a Ray Lewis-type enthusiasm and Bill Parcells will see that in McClain," seems logical.

"You look at Parcells when he was with the Giants and at other places, he loves linebackers that have that type of ability, especially guys with his kind of size too, with LT and Carl Banks and those type of guys," Kiper said. "This is an inside linebacker that looks like an outside linebacker."

And that is where Kiper and I disagree. I believe the Dolphins have a greater need at OLB than ILB. But Kiper doesn't see any OLB as worthy of the No. 12 selection.

I believe Michigan's Brandon Graham is more than worthy of that pick, talk of his short arms be damned. I love Graham! I have put in adoption papers for Graham because I want that guy in my family if he's not going to be on the Dolphins!

And here's the kicker, despite saying Graham rates around No. 20-32, Kiper also seems to love Graham.

"I've liked him all along, that's the one guy I've been consistent with all the way through," Kiper said. "He's got that great work ethic, he comes hard every play. He took advantage of some offensive tackles that were very suspect, obviously, and in the NFL that's not the case."

Kiper believes Graham will somehow wind up chasing Dolphins quarterbacks someday, either for a Miami division foe, or a team the Dolphins must eventually beat to become great.

"I actually have him going to New England in the latest projection I did from the standpoint of being a 3-4 outside backer," Kiper said. "As a 4-3 defensive end situational guy if Indianapolis looks at him in that rotation with [Dwight] Freeney and Robert Mathis it makes sense. I think his character and every game bringing it, the way he did production-wise is the reason why he's a pick to go now between 20 and 32."

I think that's precisely the reason the Dolphins should take him at No. 12. The kid brings it every play. Every single play. And he brings it with speed and explosion and good instinct and discipline.

Why isn't he rated higher?

Anyway, if the Dolphins decide to address their 3-4 OLB need later in the draft, Kiper has a handful of guys rated after the first round. They are:

Jerry Hughes of TCU, Ricky Sapp from Clemson, Antonio Coleman at Auburn, Cameron Sheffield at Troy, Eric Norwood at South Carolina. Kiper had Wisconsin's O'Brian Schofield rated as a first-rounder until he blew out his knee at the Senior Bowl in January.

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typo typo typo typo


For anyone who doubts if McClain can play, you must not have watched the National Championship game. That dude was in on every play. Not only that game but the game against the Gators. Also, remember how Patrick Willis did at ILB under Nolan in SF. That said, I know Henne will be calling the war room every 5 minutes until the Dolphins make their selection. You know he is drooling at the possibilities! Still, I don't see Parcels and Co. going in that direction so early in the draft. In fact, if Jordan Shipley is there in the 3rd round, consider him a Dolphins. I watched that dude in a recent competition and boy was I impressed. That guy catches everything (with his hands) and has great burst. He had better times in some of the events than his counterparts. As I write this, the NFL channel is saying Bryant won't last past Denver or Miami and possibly earlier to Cleveland.

Carlito (I handled the hard part LOL)

You are not trying to get me to be a fan of McCLains?? Wouldn't that mean we could trumpet his tackling prowess, pass defending skills and crazy leadership skills as a team with NJ PHIN and bobbyd12?

I am simply asking for the killer plays that absolutely must be on other clips if the guy has you guys so much in his corner.

I will give them an honest view and I will promise that even if I still don't agree that he is NOT Zeus in cleats I will just not say anything about the extra vids. I am asking everyone of the stout hearty McClain fans to help me see what you see? If I my eyes see some killer play than I will drive the dang McClain bandwagon. He is, afterall, a big guy and looks the part.

No worries, you can be a GIANT McClain supporter and we can still be Fin fans together bro.


The only way i see the dolphins picking Graham is if the Broncos draft McClain and we end up trading down into the late teens/early 20s.

WestVaFins, idk what videos you've been watching on McClain... Ro is an absolute beast. Tackling included.

I think Wake can have a breakout season under Nolan, hopefully next to McClain & Dansby :D. We could bring JT back for one or two more years to hold down the other OLB spot. Shawne Merriman in FA??? We get Antrell Rolle at FS. Get Boldin for a 3rd round pick. Bring back Jason Ferguson for one more year & Sign Wilfork 2011 FA

NJ, it has become ridiculous..McClain is always around the ball and has a natural sense of the game that can't be taught...He disrupts plays on a regular basis...Kid is an incredible athlete and a natural leader, we would be blessed to get him at 12

NJ PHIN!!! @9:55,

We AGREE bro!!!! Woot, woot.

I think Spoon could make a better OLB in the pros and well but I didn't wan't to compare apples to oranges. Wanted to compare (OLB vs OLB) and there aren't mant options that really excite me at ILB anyways.

I think Spoon opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl (He was there right? LOL) and showed what a versatile catch he will be for some lucky team...hopefully the Fins! Great rah, rah type!

Imagine getting Dansby and Spoon on the same team. That team could cover LB injuries in a heartbeat.


ALoco (Or his imposter)

Back off on the caps and more will pay attention.

The question has been asked and answered...scroll back.


Rob OC. McClain is a coach on the field. he knew every assignment for every player on the defense. PLUS he is everything you want in a ILB physically and athletically. He made all those players around him better. He was a stud even before Cody got there. If you watched ANY bama game you saw that guy attacking every player who even got close to the ball. The guy is the best next thing at LB.

Guys, we missed out on Patrick Willis when we took TED GINN a couple years back... lets not do the same mistake twice. McClain is the guy we need to clean up that slow & old LB corps.

Again...would McClain be the same player if he didn't have Cody playing in front of him taking on 2-3 players...and leaving McClain free to make plays? A ILB is only as good as the players that are playing in front of him.

" sean weatherspoon. Not big and gets engulfed by blockers. Must be shielded to allow to flow to the ball at the next level. doesn't make many game changing plays due to his discipline. Not a big Hitter, better suited at olb because of his speed " This is the consensus of almost every scout. Yet rob in oc will have us believe he's more of a player than mcclain at ilb. Before his decent senior bowl week , weatherspoon was a 2nd rounder.

Bobbtd12 , i couldn't agree more . it is ridiculous and the sergio that was agreeing with rob was our freindly troll we all grown to love on the blog. he was arche the other day . LOL !!!

fishypete: Cody was in for like 25% of the snaps. And Ro was a beast even before Cody got there. Remember Cody came from a JUCO, wasnt there very long...

McClain is the real deal. watch the games. Yeah it helped to have cody there. but most of his plays werent through that gap. he was EVERYWHERE

good posts Jorge Suarez

Jorge Suarez,

Great recap of this McClain ILB player.

Send me to (or give me the links) to some actual game footage and I can see this beast making every play.

If you think he is the next Patrick Willis that would be awesome. I am simple telling you I have not seen anything that says utter domination... with my eyes...yet. I am still holding out hope that McClain fans hook me up with some.

Looking forward to the views.



You havent seen anything with your own eyes because you didnt watch the games

Fishypete , mclain was name freshman of the year in the sec and was named 2nd team all sec before cody even got there. He was a parade all american in high school. cody tranferred from a junior college and played 2 years at bama, Give it a rest will ya !


Aren't the Allstar games and combine suppose to matter???? even some??



Would you judge an NFL player from his performance in the Pro Bowl?

I'm not saying he's the next patrick willis. Unfair to even compare. what i said is that we missed out on willis by taking ginn. and that was a HUGE mistake. Willis is headed to the hof.

BUT what i am saying is that we need ILB, McClain is by far the best ILB in the draft, he has all the intangibles & abilities. He is better than any LB we have on our roster. Crowder isnt the defensive captain we thought he'd be. McClain can be that and more.
We are in DIRE need of LBs outside of Wake & JT.

with Porter gone and JT 36! I think we go with an edge rusher probably like Pierre-Paul or Sergio Kindle, perhaps we pick up Dansby or Pierce and go WR in the second, somebody like Arrelious Benn. then lookinside lb again or the safety position. then again i think we take a running back by the 5th. thought Armando??


The difference between a good Alabama defense in 2007 and a great one in '08 might have been the emergence of Cody. Like most nose guards, Cody's value starts with his size. In his case, it's also in his ability to force teams to dedicate two blockers to stopping him.

Cody's production shouldn't be defined by his statistics. In two seasons, he posted a combined 52 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, two blocked kicks and only a half-sack, yet earned consecutive first-team All-American accolades.

No running back rushed for 100 yards against the Tide after Cody transferred from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

A true NT is only a two down player...his job is to stop the run and force offense's to use at least two OL players against him.


Pierre-Paul played ONE year of division 1 football. He was a JUCO prior to that, really want to risk your 1st round pick on that? Kindle at #12 is WAY too early.

I'm all for new LBs. I think we should clean house outside of JT and Wake. BUT McClain (if available) should be our #1 pick.

I agree with you on Dansby & Pierce. Dansby is versatile and a probowl caliber talent. Pierce is coming off a serious injury, BUT remember our new LB coach was his Defensive coordinator & LB coach in NY... Maybe he knows a thing or two about Pierce


If you see clips of ANY given player in action you can focus in on exactly what that player is doing.

The clips I keep telling all the McClain fans to see actually highlight him before every snap so you can follow him.

Have you ever watched a DirecTv NFL shortcut? You get EVERY snap of a game in a 30 min window cause they cut out all the BS. That's 3 hours of a football game in only 30 mins! That means there is only 30 minutes of actual play in any given game. I couldn't believe it when i 1st watched one.

I shouldn't have to trudge through a whole game viewing to see #12 ILB talent jump out at me on screen should I?

Better put, "IF" the guy is so freakin awesome, as some think he is, McClain shouldn't have any/many total bad plays period!! Why am I seeing so much footage and not being bowled over??

Longer than I wanted.


With the NFL Scouting Combine being just a week away, one player to keep an eye on is Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain. If you watch McClain on tape, his on-field production jumps out at you, but McClain is a bit stiff in his hips on his pass drops, and he appears to play slower than his projected 4.65 forty time, which isn't eye popping in the first place.

Each and every year, the scouting combine has a workout warrior that will blow the scouts away in the timing drills, but he never makes it at the next level. On the flip side, there usually are several highly regarded prospects that disappoint the scouts in the timing drills, slip a bit in the draft, but enjoy successful careers in the NFL. With that stated, it's going to be very important for McClain to not only run well at the combine, but to also perform well in the shuttle drills, to maintain his lofty draft status.

Back in 2006, another highly regarded inside linebacker prospect from Alabama, by the name of DeMeco Ryans, slipped completely out of the first round of the draft, because his measurements and forty time (Ryans was measured at 6-1.2, 236, and he ran a 4.65 forty, at 236 pounds) weren't up to NFL standards. Ryans' stock slipped, despite turning in an impressive 20-yard short shuttle time of 4.19.

In my opinion, I don't believe McClain will slip out of the first round like Ryans did, because McClain has the size that all NFL teams are looking for (regardless of scheme) along with his production on the field, in a tough SEC conference. However, it will be very important for McClain to run well (under 4.70) and perform well, in the shuttles, to remain a top 20 pick in the draft.

Keep in mind, the first round of the NFL Draft is all about the measureables, drafting prospects with excellent size and speed numbers, and if you don't believe me, just ask DeMeco Ryans.

-Al Fronczak

Fishy pete,

Yes alabama defense was Great with Cody & company, over a "good defense" without the,. But are we drafting the alabama defense or Rolando McClain??? Ro was a beast before cody & OBVIOUSLY played even better with better people around him (just like anyone else). But he was the leader before and after cody. He was a beast before and after cody. He was sec all american before and after cody. He is also projected as a top 15 pick, while cody is predicted as maybe an early second rounder.

Are you actually trying to make the case that we should draft cody at #12 lol?

Who said to go on Youtube to see McClain????

I went to Redtube and there was no McClain...!

Fishy Pete, and where is Demeco Ryans now???
Isnt he a pro bowler for the Houston Texans?


Come on, did I say that? All I'm saying is be careful when it comes to selecting a ILB. Everything will depend on how he does at the combine. If his 40 or shuttle times are slower than it should be...buyer beware.

Fishy pete,

"McClain is a bit stiff in his hips on his pass drops, and he appears to play slower than his projected 4.65 forty time, which isn't eye popping in the first place."

4.65 for a guy who is almost 260 pounds isnt impressive??? There are WRs & DBs at the combine who have ran 4.6s...

Hmmm, interesting read fishypete.

I am gonna grab some grub. I will catch all you's Fin Fans in a bit.

PLEASE hear me. My concerns with what I see or don't in McClain are not biased towards or against any certain college. I like the Fins only and want my NFL team to succeed!

If I could blink and make Demeco Ryans our #12 pick I would in a second. I think Ryan plays with much more awareness, leverage and plays faster on field than it appears McClain is on field.

Cheers for a bit,

"Everything will depend on how he does at the combine. If his 40 or shuttle times are slower than it should be...buyer beware."

If im not mistaken ILB James Laurinaitis "disappointed" at the combine last year running what i think was a 4.8 at 240lbs? Right? Well... He was a starter in his rookie year... and he had a pretty darn good year... 120 tackles i think? And look at his combine numbers... Ro has better instincts, size & abilty than james... sounds good to me.

AND if ur worried about McClain's combine... I hope you're not a Brandon Spikes lover. If you think Ro is slow... lol what is Spikes?

LMAO @ jorge. forget it , you're better off talking to a rock with some of these guys.

4.65 isn't a great time...when you compare it to what Willis ran at his combine...4.51.

Like I said and other's have said...it all depends on what McClain does not only in the 40 but more importantly in the shuttles...thats where the truth will be.

well armando i think graham will be another matt roth ....short armed motor always going...thats his knock short arms

Rob in OC... more awareness and faster than McClain???

Is there another Rolando McClain on Alabamas roster??? Maybe a redshirt or something? Have you been watching Spring game tapes???

His awareness, game speed, tackling ability and leadership are the things that have led him to being rated #1 among ALL lb prospects...

Good, go get some grub, maybe you're getting hungry... starting to sound delusional

LMFAO @ jorge. I have also called rob in oc delusional. i don't know what mcclain is looking at or what film he's looking at either.

lmao 4.65 for a guy who is 260 is fast. Very fast. Patrick willis is a freak of nature. He ran a sub 4.5 at his pro day. That's why so much was made of it. LB's arent supposed to be that fast. I think you ought to watch the combine a little closer this time, maybe look at the numbers those LBs run...

Brian Cushing? Rookie of the year? 6'3 243 4.75 at the combine...

I remember how so many Dolphin fans wanted Gholston...how he was a great college player...bla bla bla....well he may be out of football next season....even the Jets now relaize they wasted a pick.

Guess cushing is far too slow for the nfl, right Pete???

Oh wait... he was the Rookie of the year wasnt he?


Everything that you're saying that McClain DOESNT HAVE is what made gholston a bust to begin with...

Gholston never played olb and was perhaps the least instinctive football player i have ever seen. very raw, that's why you don't take the scouting combine as the end all on players.

Was gholston the leader of the defense? no.
Did he know every assignment on defense? no.
Did his HC call him the best player he's ever coached? no.
Will McClain's combine rocket HIM into the top of the first round? NO... he's already there. for his talent, not his numbers at the combine. Unlike Gholston.


How many years and how many players did it take for Ryans to get to be a pro-bowl player for the Texans? Not until they acquired Okoye and Cushing did Ryans have the chance to shine.
It's not like he came in the NFL his first season and became a world beater.


Ryans was named defensive rookie of the year before cushing got there this year,


I'm not saying that McClain either has or doesn't have anything...I'm waiting for the combine to make my decision. Regardless of what I think or you think...neither of us make the decisions.

Lmao. Demeco Ryans had 155 tackles, 3.5 sacks his ROOKIE season... without Cushing. Ryans has had AT LEAST 112 tackles every year of his NFL career

Ryans was also named to the pro bowl in 2007 before cushing got there. This is useless.

jorge, kindle is at 24 and pierre paul is at 5 so i could see kindle being too early, but well see after some combine where his value is. hell nt dan williams is at 22 and alot of people see us drafting him, i would love to have mcclain personally,id love to see a team leader at mlb. whether or not thats mcclain idk, but olb is definetly more of a need at this point than mlb.

I agree caleb. We have a lot of needs. I guess my personal opinion is that we need an upgrade at ILB. Saw WAY too many plays where our ilbs got burned. we need a captain on d & crowder isnt it

Rob in OC i usually agree with many of your views, but I just can't agree on McClain. He is a stud. You bring up his lack of plays, and a belief that he struggles in coverage. The benchmark for the modern day ILB is Ray Lewis. His stats in 14 years, 36.5 sacks, not world beater. 28 INTs, pretty good for a guy at his position. My point is, if McClain came in as a rookie for us, and had 2 INTs and only 3 sacks, with 125 tackles, you would say that he didn't have that big of an impact. I would disagree. Of all the things I like about McClain, size, scheme versatility, football intelligence, the thing I like most about him is his leadership. His passion for the game. Ray Lewis is still balling at his age, and obviously his football skills are nowhere near what they wrere even 5 years ago, let alone his prime. But his smarts and leadership are what sets him apart. This is not to say he is the next Ray Lewis, but I think he would be the leader of our defense for the next 10 years.

I have to be honest, I had seen neither player play before this offseason & the draft talk had begun, but after watching highlights of both players, it looks obvious to me, that Brandon Graham, is a stud, big time player. You look at Mcclain's highlights & it looks like the guy is slow, not fluid, & the guy doesn't crush anyone, he slows down on impact of the ball carrier & tries to tackle the guy to side, He seems to just lumber back in coverage & uses his height to try & tip a pass away in coverage, not really able to move in a different direction very fast. (something you may get away with at a college level)

Graham,on the other hand besides being a fast and crafty pass rusher on the outside, using a variety of moves and speed, is tough on the inside, running stunts & beating guards, showing impact and explosion on his tackles.
Seems much faster and fluid at changing directions.

Take a look at both videos, let me know what you think. Interesting to hear comments after looking at the film.

LB Rolando McClain of Alabama

DE Brandon Graham

And why are we concerned with 40 yard dash for an ILB? Seriously. Isn't how he moves sideline to sideline, his lateral movement, more important. Isn't his ability to put the defense in the right looks more important. The 40 may be the dumbest thing in the entire scouting process. Especially when comparing LBs.

Armando, Graham is 6'1 272lbs. Because of his weight and height, he will be better suited as a defensive end in a 4-3. If Parcells were to pick a outside linebacker at 12 if McClain is gone. It will more than likely be Jerry Hughes. I would love to see this kid in a Fins uniform.

Mike W, I really like Hughes a lot too. I am not real high on Kindle, or Sapp, IMO lots of holes in there game. Not that Hughes doesn't have some, I just like him a lot, I think he is a player.

Hi rob in oc. LOL !!

NJ PHIN @ 10:59,

The footage I am seeing is from his game play in his college games.

Maybe if you went and watched it you could have a change of heart or maybe it scared you and you won't mention it?

I am not sure why people say "I don't need to see any REAL clips as I saw the games live or in person!" That is not always the best perspective... you know that. Sometimes you can see a tackle, play, fight or catch things you didnt see on mutiple views. Sometimes you can see a sporting event live and then go see a replay and see it differently on TV or clips?

You can spout about delusional all you want but, you are the only one kidding yourself.... Or has this suddenly turned into an exact science??? Or are you fooling yourself about that too?


I'm the only one fooling myself ?? Really ??? I'm scared to mention what ?? There's been about 100 people on here saying you're the one fooling yourself. I've watched every bama game. I don't need to watch a youtube video. LMFAO !!!!! Nice try !!!

Jorge also called you delusional. i guess he's the only fooling himself or kidding himself too. LOL !!!

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