Raiders' bottom draft picks: Ro' McClain

May, 2, 2014
May 2
6:00
PM ET
Let’s continue our countdown of the worst Oakland Raiders draft picks since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger with linebacker Rolando McClain checking in at No. 3…

McClain
LB Rolando McClain (Alabama, first round, No. 8 overall in 2010)

Who else was available? S Earl Thomas, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, TE Rob Gronkowski

Finally, after years of misses, the Raiders appeared to have nailed a pick. McClain was the can’t-miss prospect who would man the middle of Oakland’s defense for years. His study habits were above reproach as the top linebacker in college, owner of the Butkus Award for the Crimson Tide.

Except…

Alabama played a 3-4 defense; the Raiders played a 4-3. And McClain could seemingly never get comfortable being away from home, even if going home is what would get him in so much trouble with the law.

Indeed, there always seemed a little something sinister about McClain, who had shots fired at his SUV, was arrested for allegedly firing a gun next to a friend’s head and arguing with police, for example.

On the field, he seemed to loaf after plays and oftentimes guessed the wrong gap to hit. He did not endear himself to fans, either, when he complained about the lack of sellouts in Oakland. Fans began calling him “Slowlando.”

His career in Oakland came to an inglorious end after a mid-practice shouting match with coach Dennis Allen resulted in McClain being suspended (he was not disciplined in terms of missing a game by then-coach Hue Jackson, who promised to conduct his own investigation after the aforementioned shooting incident and arrest).

After McClain returned to the team, he had the indignity of playing scout team fullback in practice before the Raiders finally cut him after three lackluster seasons. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens before retiring. This spring, he made noises about returning to the Ravens before “retiring” again, at 24 years of age.

Bottom 5 Raiders draft picks since 1970 merger

Dishonorable mentions

No. 5: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

No. 4: DE Bob Buczkowski

No. 3: MLB Rolando McClain

No. 2: ?

No. 1: ?

Paul Gutierrez

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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