With Antonio Pierce just getting the axe in New York, one of the positions that The Giants have a clear cut need at is middle linebacker.
Since the days of Lawrence Taylor, the best linebackers to suit up in Giants blue are arguably Antonio Pierce and Jesse Armstead. Needless to say the tradition has died.
The Giants linebacking core was once titled "The Crunch Bunch", but those days are long gone.
Recently, The Giants have shown a propensity to settle at a position that they were once known for, and that's a shame.
But as the draft approaches, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest in the quest to resurrect a Big Blue tradition: Rolando McClain.
If I could, I would infiltrate The Giants front office myself to make sure they walked away from April's draft with McClain.
The 6'4", 258 pound McClain led the NCAA's number one defense this past season to a National Title, and he was also the recipient of The Butkus award (nations best linebacker) and a finalist for The Bednarik Award as well as The Lombardi Award (both recognize prowess as a linebacker). McClain recorded 105 tackles this past season for The Crimson Tide and also provided leadership which all of his teammates relished.
"It's unbelievable how much he understands the game," fellow linebacker Cory Reamer said. "The second part is how well he knows the defense. He really knows what Coach would like to go to in the situations we get it and he really does a good job communicating it."
Alabama corner back Javier Arenas elaborated: "(When he hits you) You black out for a second," Arenas said, "And try to figure out what truck hit you. You see him walking away. OK, it's him."
Coach Nick Saban also offered high praise for McClain: "Some guys understand their position, but I would venture to say that Ro knows what every player is supposed to do on every play on defense."
Nick Saban might not be the greatest guy out there but he knows his football.
McClain considers himself one of the most competitive guys in the world, and takes pride in bringing his game to another level through the cerebral aspect of it.
Recently, Ray Lewis discussed how so few young middle linebackers in today's game understand the position for what it is. So few truly know how to play it.
McClain does not fall under that description.
Antonio Pierce's "coach on the field" role was beloved by Giants fans. I would have a tough time imagining that Big Blue fans would not love having McClain on their side.
With the amount of pride that McClain has, and his freakish build (6'4", 258 pounds, with arms made for tackling and 4.6 speed), he would be an asset for The Giants defense and would also provide them with some much needed leadership on the defensive side.
Safety is a big need, as is defensive tackle, but in McClain The Giants can get a leader on and off the field who is committed to improving his game physically and mentally every week for the next decade. I just don't see the likes of Taylor Mays, Earl Thomas, Brian Price, or anyone else having the profound impact on The Giants' defense that I believe McClain will.
McClain is a fundamentally sound player as well, and will provide a presence in the run defense and pass defense that The Giants have not had in a very long time.
Its time to bring back The Big Blue tradition of line-backing. Its time to get Rolando McClain. If a trade up is necessary, so be it.
Go get him Jerry.
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