Rolando McClain: Ranking the Best Fits for Disgruntled Raiders LB
According to an ESPN.com article:
Coach Dennis Allen would give no more information about why he held McClain out. Allen said he did not know if McClain would practice Thursday.
Also, in an article by Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area:
McClain being listed as not participating in Wednesday's practice, despite being on the field at the start during the open media window, and the reason given -- coach Dennis Allen said it was for "team-related issues" -- only deepens the mystery that is McClain.
That said, let's move forward and see which teams could use McClain's skill set to improve defensively.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Although the Arizona Cardinals run a 3-4 defense (Oakland runs a base 4-3), Rolando McClain is a great fit because of his size and speed.
And because of that, he can contribute at either inside or outside linebacker.
Considering that Arizona ranks 23rd against the run and allows an average of 4.2 yards per carry, adding a guy such as McClain would only improve the Cardinals' front seven.
Then again, the NFC West is overrun with solid rushing offenses and ball-carriers such as Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch and Steven Jackson. So, it's no surprise the Card's struggle within the division: They lack the ability to control the trenches.
Another appeal for McClain is his former Raiders teammate Quentin Groves plays outside linebacker for the Cardinals. Factor in 35-year-old veteran Paris Lenon and Arizona needs a young replacement sooner rather than later.
4. Buffalo Bills
In ranking 31st against the run and allowing 147.3 rushing yards per game as well as five yards per carry, the Buffalo Bills have to get better up front.
The Bills could definitely look to the upcoming NFL draft and hope to land Notre Dame's Manti Te'o or another top linebacker.
Regardless, whether it's this season or next spring, Buffalo must improve defensively.
Rolando McClain suits Buffalo well because his forte is stuffing the run. He is, however, sound in passing situations as well. In 2011, McClain logged 99 tackles with five sacks and 14 defended passes.
The guy is simply a complete defender, and the Bills need a player of his caliber to force opposing offenses to become one-dimensional.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
At linebacker alone, Larry Foote is 32 years old and James Harrison is 34.
McClain would fit in various situations to help Pittsburgh patch up its weaknesses. Courtesy of his frame and explosiveness, McClain can rush the passer or sink into coverage on third down.
The Steelers have recorded only 22 sacks and six interceptions this season, so applying more pressure and defending the intermediate level is where McClain can contribute the most.
A 3-4 defense doesn't suit him as well as a 4-3, although Dick LeBeau would find a variety of uses for McClain's overall athleticism. Plus, landing the linebacker would allow Pittsburgh to focus on either the offense or other defensive areas in the 2013 draft.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Everything regarding the Baltimore Ravens need for a linebacker revolves around Ray Lewis.
In short, the future Hall of Famer is 37 years old and McClain is only 23.
No matter what happens with Lewis for the remainder of 2012, the guy can't play forever. As a result, Baltimore needs to strongly consider McClain to replenish its front seven's future.
Despite playing better defensively as this season has progressed, the Ravens still give up four yards per rush and 128.5 rushing yards per contest (ranking 26th). With other stud front seven guys in Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and rookie Courtney Upshaw, McClain will make even more plays.
Not to mention, as long as Ed Reed resides in the secondary, McClain will have plenty of opportunities to shield underneath and utilize his coverage skills. After all, Baltimore still ranks 23rd against the pass and allows a 60.2 opposing completion percentage.
1. San Diego Chargers
Yes, another 3-4 defense in the San Diego Chargers.
Then again, Takeo Spikes is turning 36 years old next month and the Bolts rank 20th against the pass.
Giving up a 62.9 completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks, San Diego has also allowed 20 touchdown passes and has recorded just nine interceptions. McClain's ability to defend the pass alone would benefit the Chargers, especially considering San Diego will need to stop Peyton Manning for years to come.
His presence in the middle will provide the pass-rushers a bit more time to get pressure and in turn, McClain's turnover opportunities will increase.
Lastly, there's the appeal of getting to face the Raiders twice a year. You have to believe McClain would love to exact revenge on his former team.
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