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Prospect Profiles-ILB Rolando McClain

Laying That Big Hit

Laying That Big Hit

 I fully expect Rolando McClain to be the first linebacker taken in this upcoming draft and as such I expect him to be a top 12 pick and probably NOT Available when the Giants draft.

However, it is not out of the realm of probability that the Giants could draft Rolando McClain, either 15th overall or by moving up to 12th or so overall (which according to a trade value chart-would be roughly at 4th round pick) so I’m not against moving up from 15th to 12th or so, but I am against moving up from 15th to 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th for Eric Berry. It cost too much in terms of draft picks and you also have to pay a top 5 pick too much for a safety to consider that a wise investment.


15th to 12th doesn’t cost much-switch first rounders and throw in a 4th or 5th. 15th to 5 would cost a 1st a 3rd, 5th, and 7th. or a 1 and a 2.


Pro Draft Party Highlights/Lowlights Rolando McClain

Measurables (Combine Numbers and Other Draft Process Information Will Be Posted as  It Becomes Available)

6’4” 260 pounds.

Born July 14th 1988 (a Young prospect)

2009 Butkus Award Winner, 2009 Lambert Award winner, countless other awards that deal with him being the top linebacker in the S.E.C. and the nation.

All-America teams and the like.

Unquestioned Leader of a Big Time Defense


2007 (Freshman Year)

74 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INT

Big Games:

11 tackles Vs Georgia

8 tackles at Florida State

15 tackles and an INT at Auburn


91 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT.

Big games:

Vs Tulane 15 tackles 1 pass defensed

 atFlorida 9 tackles.

11 tackles, a pass defensed and 2 sacks vs Mississippi State

8 tackles and INT at LSU

5 tackles vs Auburn


105 tackles this season with 4 sacks a FF and 2 INT. 8 straight games with 7 tackles or more

Did he produce this year against good competition?

12 tackles and a sack at Auburn.

9 tackles vs LSU

10 tackles at Mississippi State

4 tackles and a pass defensed vs Texas

5 tackles and 2 sacks at VA Tech

he played pretty well vs good teams.

 Against Auburn in Three years Rolando McClain had 32 tackles, a sack and an INT.

He showed up in many big games.

Ronaldo McClain’s Scouting Report at Draft Board Insider

Scouting Report: Each draft there is a linebacker who sets the bar for the rest of the class. McClain is that guy this year, like Aaron Curry was last year, and Patrick Willis before that.  Sort of like Joe Haden, McClain is very clearly the best linebacker in this draft.  McClain is a big thick dude, with a powerful lower body and low body fat.  He has an explosion when he plays, and an intensity that is unrivaled in this class.  There are few flaws to McClains skill set.  He is great at diagnosing the play, getting to it in a hurry whether that means shedding a blocker, working around one, or simply in pursuit.  When he gets to the ball, he usually brings the pain with a devastating paired up with great technique.  He can drop and cover in the short zone, shows solid instincts for the game, and does very well on blitzes and twists.  McClain has been the undisputed leader of the Crimson Tide defense and their defense is very complex highlighting his football IQ.  On the downside, McClain is a Mike linebacker and probably not able to play on the outside citing some lack of versatility.   Also, when you consider that McClain is about 3 biscuits shy of 260lbs, you won’t see him setting any records on his triangle numbers.

Draft Status: This is a little uncertain, because some think that Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon or Florida LB Brandon Spikes are better linebackers than McClain, and because they either already to play on the outside, or look to be able to, will be taken ahead of him, and push him to the bottom of the round.  I have a hard time believing that.  McClain could have a huge impact on a defense, especially a team that runs the 3-4 and you can pair him up with another Mike and let him blitz and run and make plays.  If he can continue to play like he has, and have a good offseason showing I see no reason he should be drafted anywhere outside the first 20 picks.

Final Analysis: I love McClain’s game.  I love the fact that he always knows what to do at the right time, and is almost never caught out of position.  I love he’s big and strong enough to hold the point of attack even against offensive linemen, and that he can deliver a blow like no other player in the draft.  He’s a throwback kind of guy.  Not flashy, and not all about the triangle numbers.  Just an incredibly talented and productive linebacker.

Reminds me of: Ray Lewis, LB Baltimore RavensMcClain has the look of a super star, like Lewis does and is an explosive powerful and smart playmaker, just like Lewis.  Also, he may end up slipping in the first round like Lewis did, but for different reasons. 




  • Huge frame for ILB
  • Very long arms
  • Good level of production
  • Comfortable in coverage
  • Excellent tackling technique
  • Stacks and sheds blocks well
  • Very good pass rusher
  • Love his timing on blitzes
  • Nice agility; smooth change of direction
  • Highly experienced
  • Takes good angles to the ball
  • Stays in control
  • Nice versatility especially in 3-4 defense
  • Vocal leader
  • Intelligent
  • Very young prospect (20 years old)
  • Doesn’t take plays off
  • Outstanding instincts
  • Well versed in 3-4 defense


  • Unimpressive speed
  • Overpursues against run
  • Questionable 4-3 inside linebacker
  • Average sideline-sideline range
  • Good, but not an exceptional athlete
  • Could be exposed in man scheme
  • Doesn’t have huge upside
  • A little uncomfortable in spaceSummary: I really don’t think McClain is a 4-3 inside linebacker. The speed and lateral range just isn’t there for me, and I think he would be exposed because he will overpursue gaps. McClain is great for 3-4 teams because he can play inside, but also move over to the outside if needed temporarily. His best fits are at 3-4 inside linebacker and 4-3 strongside linebacker. McClain is a solid prospect who will likely come off the board in the top 20 picks.Player Comparison: Bart Scott. Scott has great instincts and size, and is a leader at inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
  • The Football Fan Spot Scouting Report

    Middle Linebacker 


    6-4 258

    40 time (projected): 4.62

    Draft Board overall ranking: #10

    Draft Board middle linebacker ranking: #1

    Overall rating: 89*

    2007 Freshmen All-SEC selection

    2008 Third-Team All-American

    2008 First-Team All-SEC

                    11/8/09: Rolando McClain has that elite size, speed combination for a middle linebacker (low 4.6 40 at 255+ pounds) and has experience playing in a 3-4 defense and is drawing comparisons to other extremely athletic 3-4 middle linebackers like Patrick Willis and even Ray Lewis. He doesn’t have Willis’ 4.4 speed, but he is bigger and stronger than Willis and the Lewis comparison isn’t far off in terms of a ceiling. He is one of the few players I’ve watched and not seen him do anything technically wrong. He fills holes very well as a 3-4 middle linebacker which is very crucial to plug up the gaps that nose tackles don’t get to. He has amazing size to compliment this strong initial burst which makes him a very tough run blocker. He actually has a chance to get more athletic as he won’t be 21 until next July, roughly 2 or 3 months after the NFL draft so he has a chance to grow even more which is scary. He is a former defensive end, which is not a surprise because of his size, so he understands how to blitz and has 5 sacks in the last two years solely on middle linebacker blitzes which are very rare. He is capable of dropping back in coverage and his size makes him a tough matchup for smaller tight ends and he has the speed to keep up with tight ends in the open field. He doesn’t have perfect coverage skills, but one would hardly expect him to because of his position and his youth. He has 5 interceptions in 3 years which shows that he can flash soft hands as well. He is a real student of the game, like Lewis is, but he doesn’t have Lewis’ fire and explosion. He’s not a mean passionate player like Lewis is. He’s not a hard hitter, but he does have good fundamentals on his tackles, but he’s not going to knock the ball lose with jaw dropping hits. He’s a tackling machine that can get to guys in the open  field and takes excellent routes to the ball. He had 91 tackles last season, which is a lot for a 3-4 middle linebacker. Brandon Spikes is the bigger name, but I would take McClain in a heartbeat over him if I were a 3-4 team and I would also draft McClain over Spikes if I were a 4-3 team because I believe he can be a big explosive middle linebacker in a 4-3 like Brian Urlacher if he has the right coaching.

    NFL Comparison: Brian Urlacher


    Big Board Rankings (1/11/2010)

    Mel Kiper Jr. 14th 17 8

    Draft Board Insider 16

     Bartolis Summary and Final Verdict

    I don’t expect McClain to be available when the Giants pick 15th, but if he is they should get him in a heart-beat. I currently have C.J. Spiller as my top choice for the Giants if available, but that’s because I fully don’t expect McClain, Eric Berry, or Joe Haden to be available at 15, but those are my top three if they are available. And again, I’m a person who believes that teams should draft Best Player Available in the draft so I am not saying that the Giants should not consider a defensive player at linebacker, DT, or safety, but rather that if the Giants do select a position they need (the three mentioned above) than that player should be VERY HIGH on their Board of remaining players in the draft when they do select.

    The ONLY Question you have about McClain is can he dominate in a 4-3? I think so. He has size, speed, and he can shed blockers, so I think he can do very well in a 4-3. There are a lot of people who feel he would be an elite 3-4 inside linebacker, but he may have a little more difficulty in a 4-3 system.

    I’ve heard some interviews with McClain too and he’s pretty well-spoken and seems humble so he’s at the top of my list.

    he’s not the number one player on my board, but he’s very high on the Giants board, problem is he will clearly be the first linebacker taken in this draft, which means a team like Cleveland (my guess for now) will end up taking him at 7th overall and I don’t think he falls into the Giants range.

    Look at the player comparisions in the scouting reports: Urlacher, Ray Lewis, Bart Scott. Id’ take any of those players on my team in a heart-beat…except Scott talks too much but a good player still.


    To me, McClain is a better player than Brandon Spikes and if available is a player that not only fits what the Giants are looking for, but also what they need.

    And if he is available at 15th overall and the Giants select him I’ll be doing Kart-Wheels in my home and in my humble opinion you should too.


    Previous Prospect Profiles

    C.J. Spiller

    Taylor Mays

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    17 Responses to “Prospect Profiles-ILB Rolando McClain”

    1. Jesse Cassel says:

      this is my guy hopfully they can draft him hes a beast

    2. Michael S says:

      Y would u trade up for him but not Eric berry?? The FA MLB’s coming this year are way more deep than the upcoming FA safeties

    3. Steve B says:

      Well a lot of those FA MLB would be restricted FA’s, like Ryans from the Texans.

      And plus it is a lot cheaper to trade from 15 to 10 (I say 10, because I think the only competition we have would be Denver (11) and Miami (12)), then to jump up to 5,6, or 7.

      From the value chart: 10th pick is worth 1,300, that is at least the minimal equivalent of our 1st pick (1050) plus our 3rd pick (195).

      If Berry is there at 5, (althought the Chiefs could take him at 3). The 5th pick is worth 1700, and that is close to our 1st (1050), our 2nd (430), and our 3rd (195).

      Plus, I think this draft has a lot of good Safties, and I could see the Giants using a 2nd round pick on a good Saftey (or they could go DT).

      • Michiael S-

        See Steve B.’s comments.

        That’s EXACTLY why I wouldn’t trade up for Eric berry.

        Who could be drafted anywhere from 2-5.

        McClain will be drafted probably around 10th, 11th, or 12th.

        I would only trade up IF he is still sitting there after 10.

        I wouldnt’ be proactive….I would be reactive.

        If McClain is sitting there after 10, it doesn’t cost up to move up 4-5 slots, but it does cost a lot to move up into the top 5.

    4. steve says:

      why lb in 1st da round when we getting killed in the passing game ?somebody please expain that 2 me.what if mclain or spikes play well and we still get kill in da secondary? who going 2 help wit deshon jackson that type of player is hurtin us da most!!!!

    5. Steve B says:

      Well even if the Giants go with taking a LB in the first round, there are still rounds 2 through 7 to get pass coverage guys (Safties)

      Our best cover corner-Corey Webster was a 2nd round pick. Brian Westbrook was a 3rd round pick. Tom Brady was a 6th round pick. Just because the Giants use their first round pick on a LB, doesnt mean they cant get talented players in the other rounds.

      And LB’s do cover on defense, and none of Pierce’s replacements could really cover, so there is a need for a new MLB, because we dont even know if Pierce will pass his physical with his neck injury.

      Giants could target someone like Nate Allen in the 2nd round, he is a saftey. Or they could go LB in 2nd round, and go with Earl Thomas in the first round. It really depends on what happens in Free Agency, and how the draft plays out (i.e. whos avilable when giants pick)

      Also, Giants seem to like to go BPA, Best Player Avilable, they are not going to reach for a 2nd round cover guy in the first, if there is a top 10 LB sitting there.

    6. STEVE says:

      steve b this is steve bro the problem we had in da secondary last year we cant afford 2 take a change gamblin on a late round diamond in da ruff.we need speed and talent in da secondary we got killed. if one of these lb can stop d. jackson and fast player like that why we need him the run defense wasnt that bad. plus corey webster look lost pierce was hurt webster was there and look bad im mo worried bout him. get lb in late round and free agenty. hit me back!!!

      • Steve B says:

        Well the first three rounds are going to be your starters and future starters depending on position (like Beatty was a 2nd round pick, will be future LT).

        So as long as the Giants address the secondary in rounds 1, 2 or 3, they are in good shape, hopefully sooner rather than later, but who knows who is going to be avilable.

        I like McClain, I think he will be a pro bowl MLB, and he is being compared to Ray Lewis, which is pretty impressive.

        With that said, I dont belive McClain will be avilable when the Giants pick, and I am rooting for Earl Thomas FS from texas. Kid is a bit undersized, but is definitly a playmaker, can cover really well, may have better ball skills then Berry, and if Kenny Phillips comes back healthy, the Giant would have 2 studs in the secondary.

        I was just playing devils advocate, but I do believe they will definitly address the Saftey position in either the first or second round, and those will be good players who would help immediately.

        The Giants could also go DT in the first round. Because the year we won the Super Bowl, we had a great defensive line, and an average secondary. Cover guys cant cover recievers forever, the D-line has to get to the QB, and this year we didnt do that well.

        A great D-Line covers up a lot of weaknesses on your team.

        • steve says:

          well steveb im jacksonville,fl,but i was a giants fan before we had a team in 95 i could never be a jag fan i always love the giants,i like mcclain but i think im just shell shock about what happen last year.maybe it was bill. if your from new york keep me posted i dont get much giant news in jax.

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