The DC Times

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By Jonathan Bales

Potential Draft Picks: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama

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Alabama's Rolando McClain is an ideal 3-4 ILB, and would be an on-field upgrade over Brooking.

With Cowboys inside linebackers Bradie James and Keith Brooking aging quickly and Bobby Carpenter limited in his role, the time is right to bolster the position. Most 3-4 ILB’s are heavier than their 4-3 counterpart because they are more likely to not be covered up by a defensive lineman and have to take on blocks.

Having said that, the Cowboys could really benefit from an inside linebacker who is solid against both the run and pass. Many scouts and draft analysts see Alabama’s Rolando McClain as this type of player.

Scouting Report

At 6’4”, 256 pounds, McClain has ideal size to play inside in a 3-4, as well as great experience in the system. He is a superb tackler, always wrapping up well, and an excellent blitzer. While others also commend his ability to defend the pass, I do not see this as one of his strengths. McClain has bad hips and does not transition well out of breaks, and also has limited sideline-to-sideline speed. His short shuttle time at the Combine will be very telling.

McClain is apparently a tremendous vocal leader. He has great intelligence, and character concerns should not be an issue with him. His ability to lead a defense would benefit Dallas greatly once Brooking leaves, and he is about as safe a late-first round pick as you can find.

Projection

McClain is projected to go as high as around pick 10, but I chose to add him as a potential Cowboys’ draft pick because ILB’s tend to drop on draft day. Despite Jerry Jones saying the Cowboys would not move up in this draft, I am not so sure it wouldn’t be a good move. There are limited available roster spots, meaning the Cowboys would be wise to emphasize quality over quantity in this draft. To nab McClain, Dallas will most likely have to move up, but if he should somehow fall to pick 27, it appears to be a no-brainer to me.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miJwMCgaxKo]

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