The Denver Broncos continue entertaining defensive standouts this week when the former starting middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens not named Ray Lewis comes to Dove Valley for a meet and greet.
Jameel McClain, a young, promising, starting linebacker from one of football's best defenses will be visiting with Elway, Fox, Xanders and company on Friday as reported by The Denver Post's Mike Klis.
McClain has been utilized in Baltimore primarily in run situations in nickel packages in the four seasons he has been in Baltimore.
McClain is in the prime of his career. He is 26 years old, 6'1" and weighs in at around 245 lbs. As it appears likely that Joe Mays, the Broncos former middle linebacker, will be signing elsewhere this season, McClain fills a role and a hole left by Mays' apparent departure.
Not only is McClain a run stopping machine inside, he also has a knack for defending the pass to running backs coming out of the backfield and tight ends coming across the middle. He even had an interception against Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals, when pressure forced Kolb to throw a wobbly pass to no one in the middle of the field. He also recovered two fumbles last season.
McClain would be a welcome addition for the Broncos, who are expected to draft a middle linebacker during the NFL draft in April. McClain would be the type of acquisition that would give the Broncos the flexibility to address different needs in the draft besides middle linebacker that may be more pressing.
McClain is another low risk, high reward type guy who maintains a low profile and conducts his play in a professional manner. There won't be any worries about his off-field character and he would be the perfect tutor for the up-and-coming Nate Irving, who was drafted last season but never saw the field.
The added help in nickel packages would also be a big boost to the Broncos defense, who were hurt by offenses repeatedly when they were in the nickel package, and were forced to stay in nickel because of opposing teams' hurry-up offenses. Huge gains were typical of the defense when faced with a hurry-up offense in the nickel package.
The Broncos definitely have the cash to pay a top prospect such as McClain for 2012, and if necessary (possible) beyond this season and up to three or four years. I estimate that the Broncos would need to offer McClain around $4-5 million (maybe more) per year to lock him to a multi-year deal. This is definitely within the Broncos' cap-friendly budget in 2012.
The Broncos won't be alone as far as likely suitors of the big fellow, however. CBS Sports reports that his former team, the Ravens, will be focusing their attention on retaining McClain now that he is a free agent.
I would be super excited to see McClain in a Broncos uniform next year as the front office continues to fill out their defensive roster looking to add impact players and mold the defensive attitude into a formidable force that opposing teams fear.