One of the bigger disappointments, on and off the field, over the past few years for the Oakland Raiders has been the failure of Rolando McClain to asset himself as a dominant linebacker in the NFL, leading to his release after three seasons with team. Despite his problems, the talent is still there, leading to a lot of interest from the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants.
McClain was the 8th pick in the 2010 draft for the Raiders, the first pick in a very long time that wasn’t based on speed but simply on a players ability and a team’s big need to stop their leeky run defense. McClain, fresh off a national championship with Alabama and a few individual awards, was destined to become one of the more dominant inside linebackers in the NFL. He posted some decent tackling numbers, but the Raiders defense against the run hasn’t improved, while McClain was discovered as quite a problem when it comes to pass-coverage.
So, after three seasons of another huge draft disappointment, McClain got released, immediately sparking interest around the league, despite his problems off the field with the law. First round picks don’t just disappear from the NFL unless they’re really bad quarterbacks or have some career ending injuries.
It took some time for teams to start looking into him because of his pre-rookie wage scale contract, but once he cleared waivers, he became an immediate player you need to add. The Bengals like what they have on defense except for the middle linebacker position, which means they probably will go hard after McClain. Same goes for the Giants, as the general feeling is that they’d like to improve at almost every position except for quarterback and their defensive line.