Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain somehow falling to No. 15. This is the dream scenario for the New York Giants, who desperately need to shore up the middle of their defense.
If 14 teams somehow let McClain slide to the Giants I really don't care what else General Manager Jerry Reese accomplishes. Grab this guy and you can call your draft a success.
Let's look at what it is about McClain that makes Giants' 'draftniks' drool at the thought of him taking over for Antonio Pierce.
Rolando McClain Scouting Reports
McClain is a dominating physical presence at 6-foot-4, 256 pounds. He has the size, strength and athletic ability to be the best Giants middle linebacker since -- dare I say it -- Harry Carson. I am not saying he will be that good, but it sure is nice to think about. It's highly unlikely McClain will be available to the Giants at No. 15. If he is, though, I don't see how the Giants can pass him up.
NFLDraftSpot summarized McClain this way.
McClain has all the physical traits you look for as well. He's big, and highly athletic with a rare size/speed combination. McClain is a sound tackler who can "lay the wood," but also does a good job wrapping up. McClain has a knack for rushing the passer. He is also a very versatile player who can probably play any linebacker position in any scheme.
SB Nation's Mocking the Draft succinctly summed up McClain's skills.
McClain is the most sure-thing as a middle linebacker prospect in the draft since Patrick Willis. He's a prototypical combination of size, athleticism and intelligence."
NFL Draft Board Insider had this to say.
Each draft there is a linebacker who sets the bar for the rest of the class. McClain is that guy this year, like Aaron Curry was last year, and Patrick Willis before that. Sort of like Joe Haden, McClain is very clearly the best linebacker in this draft. McClain is a big thick dude, with a powerful lower body and low body fat. He has an explosion when he plays, and an intensity that is unrivaled in this class. There are few flaws to McClains skill set. He is great at diagnosing the play, getting to it in a hurry whether that means shedding a blocker, working around one, or simply in pursuit. When he gets to the ball, he usually brings the pain with a devastating paired up with great technique. He can drop and cover in the short zone, shows solid instincts for the game, and does very well on blitzes and twists.
Why McClain fits with the Giants
We can -- and probably will -- argue for the next few months about which is the Giants' biggest position of need. Let's look at it this way, though. The Giants are kind of like an out-of-shape middle-aged man -- meaning they are soft through the middle. Of all of the players available to the Giants at defensive tackle, middle linebacker and safety is there a player who is a safer bet to address one of those needs? I don't think so. If he is available to the Giants, this feels like a no-brainer to me.
Why the Giants should pass
Personally, I have not thought of ANY reason why the Giants would pass on McClain if he somehow falls to them at No. 15. The only thing I can think of that might convince the Giants to pass is if they choose to sign a free-agent middle linebacker before the draft. Some draft profiles have raised the concern that McClain might actually be too big to be a 4-3 middle linebacker. I'm not buying that, since I think these 235-pound guys are often not physical enough to run-stopping forces. The only thing that scares me about McClain is this -- am I the only one who thinks he looks just a little bit like Plaxico Burress?
(E-mail Ed at email@example.com)