Why Rolando McClain Was A Bust in Oakland


Aug. 17, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker (55) Rolando McClain against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie McKenzie, general manager for the Oakland Raiders, is in the midst of rebuilding virtually an entire new football team. He has dropped and signed a number of players this offseason (including Rolando McClain), and seems to be doing a fantastic job at player choice.

McClain became another victim of the Oakland Raiders cleaning house, but it might have been the best thing for his career and the organization’s future.  As we all know, the middle linebacker has been a huge bust after going in the top-10 three years back.

How can such a great college prospect enter the NFL and become so inept? It almost seemed as if being a middle linebacker was unsuitable for the youngster. Obviously, playing professional football is a humungous jump from college ball, although most top 10 prospects eventually become solid if not outstanding players in the NFL. However, McClain never seemed get his game together.

His inability to shed blocks was flat out pathetic, as it seemed almost every time he would get blocked he would stay blocked. Not being able to consistently make a tackle was a big shot in his game. He is most known for his horrendous pass coverage-McClain looked like he was always incredibly confused and lost in coverage-which would allow constant gains from the opponent.

Playing four years in the NFL, McClain has recorded just 244 combined tackles, one forced fumble, one interception, and 6.5 sacks. Numbers never lie, as you can see McClain was far from an impact player with Oakland.

Being Oakland’s first overall pick at number eight in 2010, the organization and the fans had very high expectations for the young guy. The Raiders expected a middle linebacker who was going to be a game changer, not a detriment to their defense. Not only was it McClain’s poor play on the field that led to his release, it was that he had a past checkered with character issues. He has been arrested twice as a member of the Oakland Raiders, and was far from a leader on this football team.

The Baltimore Ravens just recently took a chance with McClain, signing him to a one-year deal that will give him an extraordinarily lucky break with a second chance to become a solid linebacker in this league. We’ll see how McClain’s future plays out with the reigning Super Bowl champions.