Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

Postby OGDraft » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:23 pm

Rolando McClain - LB - Alabama
Height: 6'3
Weight: 254
40 Time: 4.65
Projected: Top 15 Pick


- Huge frame
- 3 year starter
- Very strong
- Outstanding tackler
- Sheds blocks well
- Big hitter
- Great instincts, reads plays well, VERY smart
- Does a good job of flowing to the ball carrier through traffic
- Good blitzer
- Covers ground quickly
- Explosive burst to the ball carrier
- Long arms to deflect passes
- Good in coverage for a man of his size
- Can play a few positions
- Tremendous leader
- Extremely hard worker
- Vocal and has all the intangibles of an elite MLB


- Not very quick
- Can be overly aggressive and take himself out of plays
- Might not hold up as well in coverage in the NFL
- May be limited to 3-4 ILB?
- Had some off the field issues in the past


Rolando McClain is hands down one of the best prospects in this years draft. He has all the qualities you look for in an elite MLB. He is big, strong, and looks like a beast on the field. Combine that with the fact that he is incredibly smart and is a very hard worker and you have a great player. The only questions about him are his speed. He has a good burst to the ball carrier and once he diagnoses a play, it's pretty much over. However, if he does get caught out of position or if he makes a bad read, he doesn't have the athleticism and speed to make up for it. This is why he will sometimes over pursue on running plays and pretty much takes himself out of the play. This is a rare occasion however and it happens to the best of them. There is no doubt in my mind that McClain will be an elite LB in the NFL whether he plays MLB, ILB or even SLB.

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SPEED: 3.0
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Re: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

Postby Pudge » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:37 pm

Alabama Junior
40: 4.68

PROS: Has good speed and is athletic. Is passionate and shows good on-field leadership. Strong player that is physical and likes to mix it up vs. the run. Sound tackler, that wraps up and delivers big hit. Has good closing burst on the ball and can punish ballcarriers. Has good instincts and does a good job reading and reacting. Can sniff out screens and break them up. Does a nice job reading the quarterback when working in short zones. Does an exclelent job at the point of attack, as he can shed blockers and make the tackle. Works very well against the inside run. Willing to meet lead blocker in the hole, delivering blow and freeing up a teammate to make play. Shows good ability as an interior blitzer, able to shoot through gaps, and is hard to block for even linemen because of his strength. Has the burst and speed to come off the corner as well on the blitz. Comfortable working in zone coverage and has potential in man because he shows good athleticism.
CONS: Lacks ideal range and doesn't make plays sideline to sideline. Not as effective outside the hashmarks when playing the run. Takes some poor angles at times, gets stuck in traffic, and will overpursue at times. Lacks any pass rush moves, relying on strength and speed as a blitzer. Will tackle a bit high at times. Only has a limited role in coverage due to how talented and deep Alabama's secondary is. Needs to improve his awareness the times he does work in zone coverage. Will make some mental errors from time to time, and can get overly passionate and emotional leading to stupid penalties.
OVERVIEW: McClain is a perfect fit in Alabama's 3-4 defense at inside linebacker and is one of the best interior run defenders I've ever seen. He's not the most polished defender in all regards, but usually makes up for it because of his size, strength, and speed are virtually unmatched on the college game. He plays the MIKE position and led them in tackles the past two seasons combining for 200 tackles, 26.5 for loss, 7 sacks, and 3 picks.
NFL FORECAST: McClain projects very well to play in the middle of a 3-4 defense. If he has a nose tackle that keeps blockers off him, it's all over, even though he really doesn't need one since he does a good job shedding blockers himself. He is smart enough to come into the league and be an impact player from Day One. And I see no problem comparing him to both Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis in that regard. And at this point, the only thing that is going to stop him from being a perennial Pro Bowler at the next level is injuries. He is talented enough that he can play MLB in a 4-3 scheme as well, although he doesn't have the ideal sideline to sideline range that a younger Lewis had when he played in that scheme at the beginning of his career. But if he was to be flanked by fast, athletic, and rangy outside linebackers, then that wouldn't be an issue because he can more than handle anything between the hashmarks. He also has the ability to potentially play outside linebacker in the 4-3, although I think he'd work best as a SAM linebacker because of his size and strength and less than ideal range. The only weakness in his game that I can really see is in coverage, and I'm not sure he will hit the ground running there. Alabama's secondary was so good (at least 6 NFL caliber players) that he really didn't have a ton of responsibilities, and could just squat and spy the QB and pretty much do whatever he wanted on passing downs. I think he can do fine there in the pros because he has good athleticism to move in space and match up with backs and tight ends in man coverage, but it may be a bit of a work in progress. But in a 3-4 scheme, he has the potential to be as good if not better than either Lewis or Willis. I think he's a guy that can routinely produce 120-150 tackles a year, 3-5 sacks, and 1-3 INTs per year.
ATL FORECAST: McClain is an upgrade over Curtis Lofton in the middle, and there is nothing that Lofton brings to the table that McClain isn't significantly better at, or at least has the potential to be significantly better at (like coverage). But I imagine that since McClain is a better player, if the Falcons added him he would be more likely to move outside. He could play either OLB spot, although SAM is probably the better fit because it will allow him to get upfield more often and limit his exposure in coverage.
VALUE: McClain is one of the elite prospects in this draft and a 3-4 team picking in the Top 5 would be crazy not to draft him.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

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Re: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

Postby Mr. Offseason » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:58 pm

Pros: Has impressive size and strength, especially for a linebacker. He is one of the smartest linebackers I have ever seen play in my short time scouting. He reads and reacts to plays so quickly that at times he seems to know what is going to happen before the play even unfolds. He reads screens perfectly, times his blitzes extremely well, reads run as well as anyone I have ever seen, flows very well to the ball and does a great job of reading the QB’s eyes in coverage when he drops back into zone. He is a very good tackler and has good range despite having less than ideal speed. He has an impressive pop as a hitter, has shown he can make the tough tackle in the open field and routinely does. He also does a good job of shedding blocks from offensive lineman in closed quarters which is why I think he fits in either a 4-3 scheme or a 3-4 scheme at the next level.

Cons: At times he will be a little out of control and will miss a tackle. This happens to even the best players, but at times he will over-pursue a bit and take himself out of the play. He doesn’t have any pass rush moves that I have seen other than a bull-rush, a speed rush or just finding an open lane to the QB. However with his ability to shed blocks from offensive lineman he could potentially try to develop in this area. I am not sure how good his hands are, though they are probably average to above-average for a linebacker. He doesn’t have very good speed which limits his range and his ability to make plays from sideline to sideline, but this is masked a bit by his great instincts and how fast he plays from a cerebral standpoint.

Overall: McClain is an absolute stud of a prospect and in my opinion is one of the best players in this class. He will be the heart of a defense for a long time no matter who drafts him. He is a fantastic leader, has off the chart intangibles and has a fantastic football IQ. He is literally an extension of his coaching staff when he is on the field. I have no doubt in my mind that he will have a huge impact on his defense as a rookie and will probably be in Defensive ROY talks when his rookie year is coming to a close. Rolando McClain has Pro-Bowl and All-Pro potential at linebacker, and if you need a linebacker in the top 10 and you pass on him you will regret it just like the teams who pass on Patrick Willis.

Projection: Top 15: I absolutely can’t imagine him slipping past Jacksonville, Denver, Miami, Seattle and New York. I think Jacksonville, Denver and Miami are the most likely destinations, but Seattle and New York could be curveballs.

SPEED: 3.5
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