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Rolando McClain Signs with Oakland Raiders: Let the Culture Change Begin

Jimmy HalCorrespondent IIIJuly 29, 2010

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 27:  Rolando McClain #25 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders' first round pick, Rolando McClain, was signed minutes before the stroke of midnight. Now the Raiders have all their rookies signed in time for camp and can officially put all hands on deck in preparation for the 2010 season.

The Raiders continue to build on a strong offseason with the McClain signing. Keep in mind, McClain is only one of three first rounders to be under contract, and is the only top-10 rookie to be signed.

Though the Raiders have struggled mightily in recent history, they deserve a lot of respect for their 2010 offseason progression, and McClain's signing in particular.

Some media outlets will give the impression that the Raiders are notorious for rookie holdouts, but in fact the Raiders are one of the better teams in signing their first round picks.

Other than JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders have had much success in this regard.

Cornerback Fabian Washington was in camp on time in 2005. In 2006, safety Michael Huff was not in camp on time; however, he only missed about three days of camp. Running back Darren McFadden was signed weeks before training camp in 2008. Then in 2009, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey only missed the morning practice of the first day of camp, but was in attendance, and participated in the second practice session.

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Now McClain may have missed a day of meetings and media obligations, but he will be ready for everything the Raiders throw at him in all the practice sessions of camp.

This is a big deal. Many people believe that the acquisition of quarterback Jason Campbell was the official start of the culture change in Oakland, and I was one of them for a long time. However, Rolando McClain's presence may be just as important, if not more so.

Here is a guy the Raiders drafted to lead their defense in the future and for the future. They complemented him by drafting a powerful defensive lineman and some late round cornerbacks who should see the field at some point in 2010.

That's not to mention the veteran leadership of defensive end Richard Seymour and cornerback Nnamdii Asomugha. Even the coaching staff was slightly changed as the Raiders made former Oakland Raider linebacker Greg Biekert an assistant defensive coach.

Head coach Tom Cable has said that the culture change in Oakland is now complete. Realistically, it's going to be awhile before we see the fruits of that labor, but one thing can be said: It starts now in training camp.

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