- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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After taking three questionable skill-position players with a top-10 pick the past three years, the Oakland Raiders may have gotten it right.
Good for them.
Rolando McClain is a safe pick. The middle linebacker from Alabama is a winner, he’s smart, he’s athletic. He’ll be a star in the NFL. If the Raiders turned around as a franchise, the start of the rebirth could be with this pick.
Don’t worry about McClain. He’ll step in and make a difference for Oakland. There will be not be a bust here.
Here’s a bonus for Oakland: The pick probably broke the hearts of the Denver Broncos. That’s always a nice little side bar for an AFC West team. McClain was high on Denver’s list. The Broncos began a series of wild trades after McClain was snapped up by the Raiders
Now, Denver will have to watch him wear the Silver and Black for the next several years.
There’s a downside here for Oakland. It still has a glaring need at tackle. The Raiders bypassed offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati. The Raiders have been ignoring the left tackle position for years. The offense will never play at its full potential until the Raiders fix this problem.
But the Raiders have a lot of problems. Linebacker was one of them. Not anymore.
The selection of McClain doesn’t bode well for Kirk Morrison. The Raiders have not been high on him, even though he has led the team in tackles the past five years,
This move could also signal the Raiders are moving to a 3-4 defense. McClain is considered a great fit for the 3-4.The Raiders have added 3-4 linebackers Kamerion Wimbley and Quentin Groves in trades this offseason. They are both best suited for the 3-4. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour, acquired last season, is also best suited for the 3-4. It makes you wonder.
Whatever the scheme is, Oakland will be better on defense because of this pick. McClain was a good call. We haven’t been able to say that in recent years.
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