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Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: Potential Cowboys Draft Pick

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst IFebruary 14, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Lineman Lorenzo Washington #97 and linebacker Rolando McClain #25 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate a play against the Texas Longhorns during the Citi BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Cowboys are ready to upgrade at the linebacker position.  Inside linebackers Bradie James and Keith Brooking are aging quickly and Bobby Carpenter's role is now limited.  Most 3-4 ILB's are heavier than their 4-3 counterparts because they are more likely to go uncovered 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.  His ability to be an emotional leader on defense would benefit Dallas greatly once Brooking leaves.  McClain is about as safe a late-first-round pick as you can find.

Projection

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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 No. 27, it appears to be a no-brainer.