On the radar: Rolando McClain

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
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A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

The more I hear about this player, the better I like him.

[+] EnlargeMcClain
AP Photo/Eric RisbergThe Raiders' Rolando McClain may make a push for defensive rookie of the year.
I think Oakland scored big here. I don’t see any chance of Rolando McClain not being a positive player for the Raiders. He has it all.

For a team that earned a reputation for making major draft mistakes in the first round, Oakland played it safe by taking the middle linebacker from Alabama with the No. 8 pick.

And it will pay off.

Again, I don’t want to put extra expectations and pressure on McClain, but I believe he is going to be a pro’s pro.

This is a kid who asked the Raiders to send him their playbook -- a day after he was drafted. The next week at the team’s minicamp, McClain looked like he had been the quarterback of the Raiders’ defense for 10 years.

In May, McClain said that there is virtually no chance he will stage a training-camp holdout. He reasoned that he is a football player and the best place for a football player is on the football field.

This guy will make Oakland better.

I’m not going to get carried away and say McClain will solve all of Oakland’s problems, but he will make the Raiders better against the run and I think in a couple of years, he will be the face of the defense.

Rolando McClain is a quality football player and I look forward to seeing him make a push for the defensive rookie of the year award. After years of striking out early, there seems to be little chance that Oakland whiffs on this pick.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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