Oakland Raiders Could Use Former Raider Rolando McClain


Oct 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain (55) intercepts the ball intended for Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson (82) during the last minute of the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Dallas defeated Seattle 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In what seems like perfect Oakland Raiders irony, former first round pick Rolando McClain helped the Dallas Cowboys seal a big win on Sunday, over the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Yes, that Rolando McClain….. You know the 8th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Alabama product who was all but a sure thing coming out of college, yet disappointed the Oakland Raiders and their fan base with numerous run ins with the law and attitude problems with the coaching staff. Who seemingly retired than un retired at will, and actually failed a physical as early as this past April!

According to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required), McClain is now one of the highest rated inside linebackers in the league!

"“Remember when Rolando McClain had retired and looked to be done with football? Well now he’s our third highest graded inside linebacker through six weeks, thanks in no small part to a standout performance both in coverage and against the run in the big win over the Seahawks on Sunday.” ProFootballFocus.com Gordon McGunniess"

McClain who was acquired via trade by Jerry Jones this past offseason from the Baltimore Ravens, has fit in perfectly in an overachieving Dallas Cowboys defense.  Jones who was desperate and needed bodies this off season after losing starting middle linebacker Sean Lee to injury, gave up a couple of 7th round picks. What had been hugely criticized at the time, now seem like pure genius on the part of GM/owner Jerry Jones. While ILB Justin Durant deserves a lot of credit, McClain has played excellent alongside him in the Cowboys defense. What’s even more impressive has been McClain’s coverage skills, grading out at 6.4 in pass coverage according to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required). During McClain’s tenure in Oakland, he was a coverage liability and seemed totally out-of-place in the 4-3 defense. Injuries also played a part, as McClain seemed sluggish and slow at times.

The ironic part of this new resurgent Rolando McClain is….The 2014 Oakland Raiders are in desperate need of an inside linebacker right now. Current starting middle linebacker Miles Burris is one of the worst in the league. The fill in for the injured Nick Roach has been a disaster at inside linebacker. Burris has struggled against the run and pass, and has proven to be nothing more than a back up in this league.

The Raiders have been dismal against the run this season, and could use a big downhill thumper like McClain who goes in at 6’4 260lbs. Compared that to the 6’2 240lbs Burris and the 6’1 230lbs Nick Roach. Both fellow JustBlogBaby.com contributors Rory Anderson and Carl Cockerham have emphasized the Raiders need for true inside linebacker to improve this Raiders defense. While I feel Nick Roach’s leadership and intelligence are great assets, I must admit he can be overmatched especially against the run. According to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required), Roach rated at a dismal negative 16.8 against the run in 2013.

The Oakland Raiders have been criticized for years regarding their handling of incoming rookies and free agents. Did the Raiders mis handle the obviously troubled and young McClain? Was the release of McClain the right thing to do? Could it have actually helped the young immature player in the end? Time will tell, six games into the season is just that….six games. McClain still has much to prove in the eyes of both the Cowboys and Raiders fans alike.

Rest assured both Rolando McClain and the Oakland Raiders are looking forward, not to the past. What is done is done….it is just hard to not wonder what could have been.