NFL Draft Spotlight: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

by Cory J. Bonini on April 22, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Perhaps the best linebacker prospect in the 2010 NFL Draft, Alabama junior Rolando McClain chose to make the jump after dominant career for the Crimson Tide. His final season solidified his place among the nation's elite: 105 total stops, 4.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two interceptions. 

Strengths

  • Intelligent and instinctual: McClain identifies plays quickly and makes savvy reads.
  • Prototypical size: 6-foot-4, 249 pounds
  • A terror against the run - sheds blocks and sifts through the debris to find the ball carrier
  • Determined, dedicated and competitive: a filmaholic and an on-field leader
  • Durable - never missed a game at Alabama
  • Tackling machine
  • Capable blitzer
  • Understands pass defense roles and is serviceable in coverage
  • Versatile: McClain can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4 alignments.
  • Unusually long arms help in tackling and pass defense
  • Excellent closing speed

Weaknesses

  • Pass-rushing skills are just OK. He doesn't disengage very well, and his moves are limited.
  • Needs to improve his fluidity in man coverage
  • Could move better laterally
  • OK speed - won't time very well but plays a little faster
  • Questionable upside despite being only 20 years old

Expected draft placement

He may have Chrone's Disease, an intestinal inflammatory condition. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard came back from it, and it shouldn't affect McClain, who is a surefire first-round pick. He possesses just about every skill and intangible that teams look for. He probably fits inside linebacker in a 3-4 better than middle 'backer in a 4-3, but we think he can play both. McClain reminds us somewhat of Patrick Willis, but we question how much having the mountain that is Terrence Cody in front of him at Alabama factored into his high level of production. Nevertheless, McClain is a very promising prospect. We feel he is most likely to be drafted by the Denver Broncos (No. 11) or the New York Giants (No. 15).

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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