Don't be surprised that my number one pick is a rookie. It's really simple. Rolando McClain is a beast! He is the super intelligent, physical linebacker the Raiders haven't had in years.
A former teammate at Alabama compared his encounters in practice with McClain to being a sparring partner for Brock Lesnar. He would also say, "He's so violent that when he meets you in the hole, all you can hope for is a stalemate."
McClain comes from a pro-style defense so his transition will be seamless. McClain had the responsibility of calling defensive audibles. Collegiate linebackers never get that responsibility.
Nick Saban said of McClain, "I would venture to guess that Ro knows where every man on the defense should be on every play."
The first thing McClain did upon being drafted was ask the Raiders to send him a playbook. He then stepped in as the leader of the defense without problems.
I think it helps just a wee bit that he has Richard Seymour, John Henderson, Tommy Kelly, and Lamarr Houston in front of him to soak up blockers. The Raiders' pass defense will force opposing teams to run as well.
Many compare him to 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis. Rolando may actually have a leg up on him.
The 4-3 middle linebacker usually makes a lot of tackles. He will have four, not three linemen to protect him from blockers.
Kirk Morrison wasn't that good of a middle linebacker and he still was among the league leaders in tackles. Imagine what McClain will do.
He was a better middle linebacker than Morrison while at Alabama.