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Draft prospect: Rolando McClain

Fifth in a series analyzing potential draft picks for the Raiders, who select No. 8 in the first round on April 22:

College: Alabama

Position: Inside linebacker

Height, weight: 6-4, 249

Why it’s McClain: In a recent L.A. Times mock draft, I took Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell because I believe there’s a 50-50 chance that’s who the Raiders will take if Russell Okung and Trent Williams are off the board _ as was the case in that draft. On an upcoming Comcast Bay Area draft show, selecting who I think the Raiders should draft, the pick was McClain. The Butkus Award winner, McClain was the best defender on the nation’s top defensive team and a big reason why Alabama gave up only 68.2 yards per game on the ground. Not only can McClain tackle, but he’s a first-to-the-ball defender in part because of instinct, and also because he has been described by some as having the top football IQ of any player in the entire draft. The Raiders need a talented film junkie planted right in the middle of their defense _ and pay no mind to the fact that he played in a 3-4 and not a 4-3. McClain is smart enough to learn the angles and responsibility quickly. If there’s a chance McClain is a Ray Lewis-Kevin Willis type defender, they’ll kick themselves for passing him up.

Correction: It’s Patrick Willis, of course, not Kevin Willis. For those of you keeping track, that’s at least the third time I’ve made that mistake since Willis joined the 49ers).

Why it’s not McClain: Detractors think McClain cleaned up at Alabama in part because he had mountainous 350-plus pound Terrance Cody in front of him at nose tackle. While not slow by any stretch, McClain doesn’t exactly have “Raider speed” either. When it comes to taking linebackers, the Raiders have a longstanding tradition of waiting until after the first round. Al Davis has picked linebackers in the first round only twice _ Napoleon Harris at No. 23 overall in 2002 (Phillip Buchanon was the No. 17 pick earlier in that round) and Rob Fredrickson was the No. 22 selection in the first round in 1994. The Raiders philosophy on paying linebackers is that they’d rather spend money on corners since linebackers are often off the field after one or two downs anyway. The No. 8 pick would be far more than the Raiders usually pay for the position. Medically, McClain has battled Crohn’s Disease, although it has had no discernible effect on his ability to practice and play.

Quotable: I love Ray Lewis. I like the way he plays the game. He’s one of the best to ever play linebacker. Not just his play, but the way he’s able to get the guys up. He’s inspirational and he’s a real leader. That’s why I pride myself after him.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • DKnight007

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 1:31 pm
    I don’t know why we’re even talking about McClain & Lewis here.

    Al Davis loved speedy undersized MLB’s that can cover.

    we’re probably going to draft somebody like Daryl Washington, Sean Lee, Donald Butler, Jamar Chaney or Pat Angerer and continue to rank 30th against the run …

    replacing Kirk alone does nothing for the Run D – trust me. You heard it here first!

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Another problem Al Davis needs to get over someday regarding his infatuation with over valuing measurables ahead of tough nasty solid football players.

    However, Jamar Chaney and Donald Butler are probably the LB’s the old man will target in a Round 2 trade down scenario or in Round 3.

  • RaiderDebo

    07:22 AM ET 04.12 | A spotty history of drafting tackles early in the draft should have the Lions at least a little concerned. Only four defensive tackles have been drafted in the top 10 over the past six years, and none has gone to a Pro Bowl. If the Lions take Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy with the No. 2 pick, either player would become the highest-drafted DT since Oakland picked Darrell Russell second in ’97. Russell made two Pro Bowls before his career was plagued by substance abuse and he was done in Oakland after five seasons. The last defensive tackle drafted No. 1? That’s former Lion Dan Wilkinson. Cincinnati gave Big Daddy big bucks in 1994. How’d it turn out? Google his name, and the most common search phrase that pops up is “Dan Wilkinson bust.” Maybe it should be “buyer beware.” Numbers don’t lie. Neither does history. Put the two together and they don’t add up to an encouraging draft-day scenario for the Lions.

    Detroit Free Press
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    Interesting. But I guess if we do draft one, he’ll be the right guy.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Another problem Al Davis needs to get over someday regarding his infatuation with over valuing measurables ahead of tough nasty solid football players.

    ***

    DKnight007: Agreed. if Al Davis drafts a MLB, I hope it’s Brandon Spikes or Micah Johnson in Rounds 3-5

    regardless of what I think, it’s obvious he isn’t that high on the Raiders priority list …

  • RaiderRockstar

    Debo: no matter what the stats are on Top 10 DT’s of the past, there is no way Dan Williams could turn out half as bad as JaMarcus Russell …

  • RaiderDebo

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:19 pm
    Debo: Morrison is 28 years old, Russell is 24 years old

    Russell won’t be in the league 4 more years. Probably not even 2 more years

    Chicago purged those turds off the roster because of off-the field issues. that doesn’t apply to Kirk or JaMarcus now, does it ???
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Off-field issues?? Are you kidding me? Tank Johnson was speeding. And Cedric Benson was ACCUSED of DWI on a docked boat. He vehemently denided the charges and they were laughed out of court. They let the media and fans conduct their business and have been suffereing ever since.

  • DKnight007

    I think Micah Johnson will be there in Round 4 and maybe Round 5.

    His stock has taken a hit….but he hurt his knee in a bowl game.

    Spikes would be a good 2nd round pick….he is tough and nasty and he can hit!

  • DKnight007

    A trade down at #8 would be great to get more picks and load the team with talent….but the old man usually blows it.

  • DKnight007

    Nnamdi21 Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:06 pm
    Santonio suspended first 4 games, loese whole season if in trouble again…

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-jets-holmes

    What a steal for the JETS!

    Santonio Holmes for a 5th rounder?

    I understand the risk, but that type of risk is worth it. It’s only a 5th rounder.

  • RaiderDebo

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:23 pm
    Another problem Al Davis needs to get over someday regarding his infatuation with over valuing measurables ahead of tough nasty solid football players.

    ***

    DKnight007: Agreed. if Al Davis drafts a MLB, I hope it’s Brandon Spikes or Micah Johnson in Rounds 3-5

    regardless of what I think, it’s obvious he isn’t that high on the Raiders priority list …
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Who’s list IS Brandson Spikes high on? I get that you don’t have to be the fastest guy on earth at that position, but 5.05????? He’s slower than a lot of O-Lineman. I don’t think all the college “football speed” in the world can overcome that in the NFL.

  • RaiderRockstar

    the Bears are in much better shape than the Raiders, despite Urlacher missing all of last season and Jay Cutler at the helm

    Matt Forte & Anthony Adams are doing a fine job for Chicago. I don’t think they are missing Benson or Johnson as much as you suggest.

  • DKnight007

    RaiderDebo Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:23 pm
    Another problem Al Davis needs to get over someday regarding his infatuation with over valuing measurables ahead of tough nasty solid football players.

    ***

    DKnight007: Agreed. if Al Davis drafts a MLB, I hope it’s Brandon Spikes or Micah Johnson in Rounds 3-5

    regardless of what I think, it’s obvious he isn’t that high on the Raiders priority list …
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Who’s list IS Brandson Spikes high on? I get that you don’t have to be the fastest guy on earth at that position, but 5.05????? He’s slower than a lot of O-Lineman. I don’t think all the college “football speed” in the world can overcome that in the NFL.

    ^^^^^^^^
    Straight line 40 times are OVERRATED and have been for quite sometime when it comes to evaluating a true FOOTBALL player.

    Can Brandon Spikes play FOOTBALL, and does he have enough football speed in pads from a MLB/ILB position to fill the gaps and not be afraid to hit someone at the point of attack to disrupt a running play?

    I will say yes to that.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I don’t think all the college “football speed” in the world can overcome that in the NFL.

    ***

    Spikes is a football player, not a track star.

    DKnight007 thinks he’s a player too, along with most other semi-pro bloggers on this site

  • DKnight007

    I think Micah Johnson will be there in Round 4 and maybe Round 5.

    His stock has taken a hit….but he hurt his knee in a bowl game.

    Spikes would be a good 2nd round pick…he is tough and nasty and he can hit and fill the gaps!

  • RaiderDebo

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    the Bears are in much better shape than the Raiders, despite Urlacher missing all of last season and Jay Cutler at the helm

    Matt Forte & Anthony Adams are doing a fine job for Chicago. I don’t think they are missing Benson or Johnson as much as you suggest.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    You’re joking, right? Matt Forte?? Did you see that stiff play last year? He couldn’t carry Ced Benson’s jockstrap. If he’s doing such a “fine job”, why did they go out and give a big contract to Chester Taylor? Matt Forte sucks. At one time, the Bears had Thomas Jones and Ced Benson. They shipped them both for Matt Forte?? And people wonder why Lovie and Angelo are on the hot seat. LMFAO!

  • DKnight007

    As I have said the last 3 years and I will say it again before this draft.

    The old man Al and his “scouts” need to focus and target….TOUGH, NASTY, POWERFUL FOOTBALL PLAYERS who have LEADERSHIP skills and strong work ethics and high character and not worry about their damn straight line 40 time as much as they do!

  • RaiderRockstar

    DKnight007: what did you think of Micah Johnson prior to the injury?

    I think he’s a starter quality MLB …

  • So.ILRaider

    if i was insane AL i would go like this
    1st Dan Williams DT OR BERRY DB
    2nd Jared Veldheer OT
    3rd Thaddeus Gibson OLB
    4th Eric Olsen C
    5th Jeff Owens DT
    5th Ramon Harewood OG
    7th Deji Karim RB
    7th Scott Ravanesi P

  • RaiderDebo

    Can Brandon Spikes play FOOTBALL, and does he have enough football speed in pads from a MLB/ILB position to fill the gaps and not be afraid to hit someone at the point of attack to disrupt a running play?

    I will say yes to that.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    I won’t disagree with that. But Priest made one of his many great points a couple of weeks ago about Spikes. Opposing teams will be licking their chops at the chance to isolate him on some 4.6 tight end down the seam. There’s no way in hell he’ll be able to match up, not even being able to break 5 flat! The poor guy will get eaten alive. He’s playing in the wrong era.

  • RaiderRockstar

    the Jets & Cardinals also shipped Thomas Jones off at one time or another and they are winners.

    Matt Forte had 1400 all purpose yards last year and 4 TD’s behind a terrible o-line. check his stats the year before. I think it’s safe to say “he doesn’t suck”

    Chester Taylor was also teamed with Adrian Peterson in Minny. did he suck? most teams are using 2 back systems now buddy – including OAKLAND. Taylor was added more because of the play from thier Adrian Peterson & Garrett Wolfe. plus Kevin Jones couldn’t stay healthy.

    this convo has went WAY off course. not sure why you started talking about Bears …

    Anyways, have a great day Debo

  • RaiderDebo

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
    the Jets & Cardinals also shipped Thomas Jones off at one time or another and they are winners.

    Matt Forte had 1400 all purpose yards last year and 4 TD’s behind a terrible o-line. check his stats the year before. I think it’s safe to say “he doesn’t suck”

    Chester Taylor was also teamed with Adrian Peterson in Minny. did he suck? most teams are using 2 back systems now buddy – including OAKLAND. Taylor was added more because of the play from thier Adrian Peterson & Garrett Wolfe. plus Kevin Jones couldn’t stay healthy.

    this convo has went WAY off course. not sure why you started talking about Bears …

    Anyways, have a great day Debo
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    When I say he sucks, I mean as a lead back, like Benson. I think he’d he a pretty good 3rd down back because of his receiving and blocking skills. He’ll get a chance to prove that now that Taylor is in town. Anyway, my main point is that players don’t suck just because the media rips on them. More often than not, guys/gals in the media are clueless as far as I’m concerned. Tank and Ced are perfect examples. Have a good day.

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