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LB Rolando McClain wins Butkus Award

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Seneschal2, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Winning a college award doesn't automatically translate into being an excellent pro prospect, but in this instance -- McClain qualifies. In addition, most on this board feel he's a legitimate Pats prospect for round one -- and I agree.

    Only a junior, he hasn't declared as yet. But as a current top 20 prospect who may go as early as top 15, and once Bama' wins the national championship (;) ), he'll most likely enter the draft.

    Many may say he's an out-of-reach prospect for the Pats, and that may be true. But being Saban-coached, I see him as a versatile player that Belichick would covet for his 3-4/4-3 defense.

    Several worthy quotes from the article...this one stands out as an example of his leadership ability:

    Bama’s Rolando McClain wins Butkus Award | TuscaloosaNews.com | The Tuscaloosa News | Tuscaloosa, AL

     
  2. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Like others, I would kill to get McClain. And it's achievable depending on how much Belichick likes him or any other top 15 prospect. We have 1,2,2,2 and 1,1,2 this year and next plus we likely have the significant trade value of a Franchised Wilfork. Discussions aside on whether trading #75 is wise, it is a distinct possibility and he would bring significant value.

    Sadly, with the demise of Thomas, the invisibility of Burgess (FA anyway) and the liklihood that Guyton is a great versatile backup but not a true starter, we seem to need 3 starting LB and 1 starting DE. And that's assuming Pryor/Brace can man the middle.
     
  4. BritPat

    BritPat In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'm trying to think of a more polished and complete linebacker that's come out in the last 10 years.

    Curry was exceptionally highly thought of, but wasn't brilliant in space.....Beason was good but not great in College.....Hawk, hmmm, maybe.....Sims was under-sized.....Derrick Johnson perhaps.....Vilma and Williams - weren't they seen as a product of each other?.....

    I think the only two that you can definitely say were more highly thought of, rounded and complete than Mclain, are Dan Morgan and Patrick Willis.

    He is going to be an absolute stud.
     
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    And now I can hear Ochmed drooling about the prospect of getting Terrence Cody. . . . :)
     
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats need another pass rusher more than ILB, I agree. But McClain is a better prospect than any pass rusher in the draft, IMHO.

    I'd like to see us get a veteran pass rusher outside of the draft, and then go after McClain.

    The other thing that is apparent to me is that McClain is just an amazing leader, and we need leaders on defense. He is a guy who hates to lose, who comes to play all the time, and who makes the players around him better. Those are the kind of guys I'd like to see on our defense.

    If he's within reach, I think he's one of the guys who is worth going after. His value would be greater than what he just brings as a player, which is huge by itself.
     
  7. bigcountry75

    bigcountry75 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Also with McClain and Mayo inside that would allow us to blitz more as they can cover from sideline to sideline....They are both very good at reading and reacting with the speed to get there.....I wouldn't sell the entire draft but i really want the Pats to get McClain as i feel that will help shut down other teams running games....(that is of course we resign vince too)
     
  8. MrNathanDrake

    MrNathanDrake In the Starting Line-Up

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    Two issues however...

    1. He is looking like a Top 10-15 pick.

    2. Is NE willing to spend another high pick and invest in another ILB when we just got Mayo? (with Guyton and McKenzie developing as well)


    Personally I like McClain alot. Great character. Fiery passionate player. Exactly what our D needs. But OLB/DE seem like way bigger issues than ILB at this point


    What's the point of stopping the run if we have no one to pressure QBs and they throw on us all day.




    Free agency should be very telling what kind of position we look at, but right now we atleast have a servicable player at ilb
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  9. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Your points are valid. But I'm beginning to think that McClain would bring more to our defense than any pass rusher in the draft, especially because of his combination of physical skills and intangibles. As you say, our defense needs a fiery, passionate leader who never lets up and demands that his teammates do the same. We need that kind of "heart" very badly right now. Mayo is the "head" of this defense, but we need a heart to go with the head. I think he's a Troy Polamalu kind of guy who will make the entire defense better.

    I don't know if McClain is out of reach. If he's still on the board within 10 spots of where we pick in the 1st, I personally think the trade up cost would be worth it. We traded up 11 spots in the 1st round in 2002 for Dan Graham, so there's some precedent.

    If we address some of our pass rush needs in the offseason prior to the draft, it will take pressure of needing to take a pass rusher with our 1st pick. This has been BB's style. Last year, for example, he went out and got Bodden, Springs and McGowan and re-signed Sanders to bolster the secondary, but still drafted Chung and Butler. I could see us signing a FA or possibly trading for a pass rusher such as Ray Edwards or Mathias Kiwanuka, for example.

    Again, your issues are valid, and I don't know if we can make it happen. But I'd sure like to see it happen. Next to Ndamukong Suh, I think McClain may be the best defender in this draft (assuming he declares).
     
  10. cstjohn17

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    McClain is great, if he is available it is a no brainer. Just because the Pats need help at OLB/DE doesn't mean they should reach. McClain, Mayo and Wilfork could create a dominant interior defense. Forcing teams to run outside and alter their game plans.

    McClain, Mayo, Guyton, McKenzie - best set of ILBs in the NFL

    TBC, Crable, Thomas (signed OLBs going into 2010) - worst set of OLBs in the league

    Sigh...
     
  11. bigcountry75

    bigcountry75 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I agree about the Outside Pass rusher but I was thinking even if we traded our 1st round pick and our 3rd second round to move up and grab Mcclain that we could still use our other 2 second rounders to grab an O-lineman and on OLB......or I like mayo's plan better to grab a pass rusher via FA and then use our picks for Mcclain and O-lineman with a DE possibly mixed in......I am not saying we don't need help in other areas but I feel that Mcclain is one of those can't miss prospects that won't be a top 5 pick (I hope) that we would not have to give up the bank to get and would make the defense tremendously better upon arrival....
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  12. furley

    furley Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Either Brandon Spikes or Rolando McClain (or wait a year for Dont'a Hightower) would be fine assuming they declare for next year's draft.

    I wonder what the team has in Tyrone McKenzie. I hope he won't be a waste of a pick like Bo Ruud.

    But the team really could use a starting worthy defensive end who is a first or second round selection or a free agent signing like Ray Edwards.
     
  13. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Spikes is a 4-3 LBer, not Patriot material.

    BB trade up and draft this kid. Smart playmakers on defense are HARD TO FIND! Grab this kid.
     
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I am with you 100% on this one.

    When it looked like we were among the elite teams in the NFL and that our major need was a pass rush, I could have argued that taking an SILB, no matter how good, was not a priority.

    But this team needs guys who are smart playmakers and intense, passionate leaders. We have lots of talent on defense, but we have a huge leadership void that needs to be filled as well as a need for a playmaker in the middle to complement Mayo, and McClain is just the kind of guy to fill both of those. I think he would arguably make more of a difference to our defense than any single player in the draft, incuding Suh. We can add pass rushers in the 2nd round, or via FA/trade.

    I wouldn't trade our whole draft for McClain. But he's my #1 prospect for the Pats right now, and I unless the cost is really exorbitant I think we need to find a way to get him.
     
  15. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bingo! Playmakers make plays, it doesn't matter where they line up. ILB might not be the biggest concern but it is impossible to be too strong at any one unit. Also there is some chance McClain could shift to OLB at the NFL level, he certainly is fast enough and has the size.

    One impact player can take an average draft to a great draft very quickly. Quality over Quanity!
     
  16. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nolan Nawrocki from ProFootballWeekly has his linebacker rankings up:

    ProFootballWeekly.com - Top LBs to face off in Pasadena

    He ranks McClain as his top ILB prospect, not surprisingly: "With excellent size, natural movement skills, great football intelligence and playmaking ability, McClain stands out in this year's LB class. He is the rare type of talent that stood out as a freshman upon entering the program and has made an impact all three years. Despite playing a bit tall at times given his outstanding length, he is a natural knee bender with spring in his hips. He can somersault receivers coming across the middle when he uncoils seeking to redirect those entering his area. McClain has drawn great praise from his coaches for being able to line up the entire defense and has keyed one of the nation's stingiest units. A first-round cinch."

    For those who think that Von Miller would be a good 3-4 rush OLB for the Pats, Nawrocki's analysis is not reassuring: "A rare athlete with exceptional first-step quickness, bend, burst and acceleration, the 'Jack' linebacker put himself on the map in his first year as a starter with a nation-leading 17 sacks. He is still too one-dimensional and needs to add some bulk and get stronger defending the run, lacking ideal size to leverage the edge. His instincts also are iffy and he is best when assignments are simplified and he is allowed to stick his hand in the dirt and simply rush the passer. But he has shown he can change games on third downs and run the arc. Would benefit from another year in school but is expected to explore his options after the season."
     
  17. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The kid does it all. Pass coverage, run defense and blitzing, plus he makes all the defense calls, after the original defense is sent in. And don't forget, Saban is running OUR defense, with our terminology and coverages.

    We can take the 4 day one picks we got and grab four more guys that are invested in the team like Butler and Chung, who laugh and joke around after a bad loss, or we can trade up and take a leader (McClain) that will excel on the field and hold guys accountable in the locker room. Character still counts in the NFL!
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  18. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Were Butler and Chung some of the ones supposedly laughing after the loss to Miami? I hadn't heard that. Very disappointing if true.

    Your point about Saban running our defensive scheme is a key one. It makes it much more likely that McClain can step in and be productive from day 1.
     
  19. cstjohn17

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  20. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wouldn't worry too much about mocks right now. Pittsburgh taking McClain is always a possibility. The Steelers are too smart not to be a potential candidate for someone like him.

    Right now McClain's stock is at a high. He's coming off a huge win against Florida and a great game, where his talents both at his position and as a leader were showcased. He won the Butkus Award. And now he's suddenly becoming a popular top 15, possibly top 10 pick. There are rumors that KC might take him even over Eric Berry.

    It could happen. But there's lots of time between now and the draft. McClain is a junior, so (assuming he comes out, which is likely, especially if Alabama wins the National Championship, but not certain) he won't get to play in the post-season bowl games. And I don't think he's going to be the same kind of workout warrior at the combine that Aaron Curry was. He's just not as fast as Curry. And I expect a lot of workout warriors at the combine - Carlos Dunlap, Taylor Mays, Joe Haden, Jason Pierre-Paul, Bruce Campbell, Sergio Kindle, and others.

    He's a certain 1st round pick. Certain top 10 is another thing, however, especially for an ILB. McClain will likely slip back a few spots, hopefully at least to within trade-up range.
     

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