Skip to main content

Preseason Profile: Rolando McClain, LB

Rolando McClain #55


College: Alabama
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 254 lbs
Arm Length: 33"
Hand Size: 9 3/8"

 

40 Yard Dash: 4.69
3 Cone Drill: N/A
20 Yard Shuttle: N/A
Bench Press: 24 reps
Vertical Jump: 35"
Broad Jump: N/A

 

In the last decade there have been a lot of Raiders first round picks that were scrutinized far before they ever put on a uniform. A lot of the scrutiny was justified, but should not always be directed at the player. After all, the players can't control where they are selected. Rolando McClain "broke the mold" if you will, when it comes to first round picks by the Raiders though. He was thought of by many to finally be one of those "sure thing" draft picks. Well the start of McClain's career in the NFL has been anything but "sure". McClain struggled to make the transition from a one gap linebacker in Nick Saban's 34 defense at Alabama to a two gap linebacker in the 43 defense the Raiders ran in his first season. Those struggles are understood on some levels. Making the transition to the NFL is tough enough without having to learn a completely new scheme and be counted on as a day 1 starter your rookie season. However, this is the big league's now and sympathy is hard to come by.

In year two, it was a fresh start for McClain. After getting a year under his belt and time to adjust to all the changes it was time for McClain to settle in and begin his dominance, right? Well, it didn't exactly turn out that way. While McClain showed his ability at times during the season, he was inconsistent at best and did not progress much from year one. He struggled mightily in pass coverage, got caught out of position far too often and at times did not shed blocks in the run game as you would expect out of your "star" linebacker.

Now, I'll be the first to tell you that no excuses should be made for McClain. He is getting paid big money and he knows what is expected of him. However, you do have to keep in mind a couple of things. First, McClain did play the majority of the season on a bum ankle. How bad it really was is tough to know, but it was obvious at times that it was bothering him. Some guys will get the benefit of the doubt, and will be seen as a "team" player for playing hurt, but patience is wearing thin for the guy who was supposed to help restore a run defense in Oakland. Second, the Raiders defensive scheme was one that had many people scratching their heads throughout the season. It certainly did not put players in the best position to be successful the majority of the time.

To steal a line from head coach Dennis Allen, "At the end of the day..." the players have to go out and perform and McClain did not perform up to standards. To make matters worse, McClain is now facing jail time for assault charges stemming from a fight he was involved in back in Alabama. Luckily for McClain, there is a new regime running the show, and they are willing to forget the past and give everyone a fresh start. An opportunity McClain better take full advantage from.

Despite the negatives that have shown through in the first two years of McClain's career, there is still no doubting the talent he possesses. It's up to him to put in the work so that the talent shows up on Sundays. He has some things working in his favor this season though. Dennis Allen has made it clear that he wants to mix in some 34 looks this season. That should put McClain in more of a comfort zone as a one gap linebacker. He will also probably be asked to cover down field less and focus more on short zone's and run defense. He also excels at blitzing, which is something the Raiders plan to do a lot this year. McClain belongs in an attack style defense where he can trust his first instinct and just go out and play. His third season should tell the Raiders everything they need to know about their young linebacker.

Was he a product of a great system at Alabama or is he primed to breakout and become one of the future stars at inside linebacker?

Comments

  1. Im on the McClain bandwagon... I firmly beleive this new defense will put players in the position to be successful... can ANYONE argue with how terrible the scheme was last year? MCLAIN WAS COVERING CALVIN JOHNSON 25 YARDS DOWNFIELD!!!!! No doubt he hasnt lived up to the 8 pick, but cmon lets be real, the kid has natural talent and he is a deadly blitzer, to long and physical for a back to take him 1 on 1

    ReplyDelete
  2. [...] to Original Content From Raiders Blog (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Oakland Raiders Swing for the Fences in 2016 NFL Draft

[embed align="center"]http://gty.im/153039819[/embed] These aren't your daddy's Oakland Raiders or even your younger self's Raiders. If anything, these are your newborn's Raiders or your puppy's Raiders. These are the Raiders we've never seen before. Indicative of the freshness of the franchise was their 2016 NFL Draft. No longer slave to a high draft pick and desperate needs, the theme of the draft for the Raiders was upside. It's as if general manager Reggie McKenzie got so used to hitting his draft picks out of the park that he started swinging for the fences. We'll have to wait a couple of years before we know if he struck out or if he'll continue his Ruthian ways. First, McKenzie boldly went with a safety at No. 14 overall. Kyle Joseph is coming off a torn ACL and fills a major need, but safety isn't a premium position. Only a handful of safeties have been drafted in the first 14 picks in the last 15 years and include names like Ea

Looking Forward: Raiders 2012 Free Agents

Khalif Barnes - Weakest link on the offensive line with youth behind him. Raiders will look for for other options. It's not as if there aren't a dozen Khalif's on the street each year. Darryl Blackstock - Was a Chuck Bresnahan guy, but found a home on special teams. Would have to make the team as a reserve LB and special teams guy next training camp. Wouldn't be surprised to see him back as a camp body or gone entirely. Kyle Boller - Hue didn't have enough confidence to turn to Boller. Expect the Raiders to look elsewhere for a backup to Carson Palmer. Jerome Boyd - Was nothing more than a reserve and special teams player. Some good moments and some very bad ones. Camp body again and fate will depend on the defensive coordinator. Tyvon Branch - About the only consistent producer in the secondary. Raiders will want to bring him back. Desmond Bryant - He's been great in limited action and can play inside and out. Key reserve. Michael Bush - He'll find a home a

Pryor Will Successfully Appeal Suspension

It is common belief that Terrelle Pryor was suspended five games by the NFL because of his miss steps at Ohio State. This is simply untrue. Terrelle Pryor was suspended five games for not following the rules of the supplemental draft entry process. Pryor hired Drew Rosenhaus before he was ruled ineligible for the first five games at Ohio State. Based on the rules of the supplemental draft Pryor should have been ineligible for entry. The power of the media and his agent put the league in a tough position. Instead of doing what they should have done and forced Pryor to sit for a year, the NFL allowed his entry while trying to appear tough. There are basically two arguments Pryor will be able to make to get the suspension lifted. 1) The NFL is punishing Pryor because they chose to not follow their own rules. There is no precedent or rule that allows for any such suspension. 2) The five-game suspension is the NFL is punishing Pryor for his college mistakes. This is also unprecedented. The