Rolando McClain  LB  Alabama

TALENT BOARD

 Round 2


 

STRENGTHS

Rolando is an extremely athletic linebacker who shows leadership qualities along with football intelligence, instincts and the ability to play more than one position in a defensive front seven.  He has those long arms and legs that allow him to cover a lot of ground and cause a lot of problems for his opponent.  Rolando is a very good tackler and has the speed to run down a player from behind.  He shows strong lateral agility and change of direction skills for a player who has such long legs. Rolando's very smart about keeping players off those long legs.  Rolando can drop back into zone coverage with ease and he has the athletic agility to cover a TE man-to-man and down the field.  His burst off the line when he rushes the passer might be the best of any player in this draft.  This is a quality kid and it shows in his play on the field. 

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Rolando's impact position at the next level will be as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  A good defensive coordinator has to get this kid to stop thinking so much and just play.  He hesitates a little too much right now.  His ability to cover ground with those long strides at the college level makes this a non-issue at the college level.  At the NFL level, as a MLB, this hesitation will get him blocked.  As an OLB, he can just worry about one side of the field, rushing the passer and running down screen plays from behind.   

    

BOTTOM LINE

Rolando is a clone of Demarcus Ware (OLB - Dallas Cowboys).  The difference is that Rolando is more mature in his play than Demarcus was coming out of college and has played against tougher competition.  He is a very good middle linebacker for his college team, but his talents to rush the passer are limited at the MLB position.  Rolando is the type of player you build your defense around.  He can be used all over the front seven and will be one of the hardest working players on your team.  For me, Rolando could be the first pick in this draft.  He will impact your defense like a franchise QB impacts your offense.  I call him Rolando (Diesel) McClain because once he gets his arms and legs pumping they look like the pistons of diesel engine.  Don't be surprised if this kid is the first pick in this draft.  I would do it.  This is a hard choice... The Great Kong, The Diesel or Sam (The Rubber Band Man) as a possible franchise QB!  Tough choice.

 

UPDATE 3/29/10 

Due to the recent announcement of Rolando's medical condition I have downgraded him to the 2nd round.

 Drew Boylhart  1/10