NFL Network has reported that Oakland Raiders Middle Linebacker, Rolando McClain, was given permission to seek a trade. McClain, the 8th overall pick in 2008, has had trouble off the field, while not fitting in the Raiders defensive scheme.
The Ravens have a good opportunity to acquire the troubled Alabama product for relatively cheap, considering his draft status and age. After rubbing the Raiders organization the wrong way with a slew of charges in regards to a shooting in 2010, the team has given up on him. When looking at a player like Anquan Boldin being moved for a 6th round pick, McClain would demand a middle round pick or two.
After being awarded 4 compensatory picks for 2013, the Ravens now have two picks in each round 4-7. They also have the luxury of knowing that next season they will haul in another couple of compensatory picks next year (possibly up to 4 with the losses of Cary Williams, Paul Kruger, Danell Ellerbe and maybe Ed Reed). Needless to say, they will have plenty of those mid-round picks that the Raiders will desire.
Baltimore has not shied away from players with background issues in the past, and are one of the better franchises in tempering those off-field issues (i.e. Jimmy Smith). McClain falls in line with the teams youth movement, currently only 23 years old, who is better suited to play in a defense similar to the Ravens 3-4. Playing out of position in Oakland, as the center piece of 4-3 scheme, a lot of his weaknesses were exposed.
As a Linebacker at the University of Alabama, he played behind big bodies in the middle of the field, allowing him to fill holes. The Raiders asked him to become more of a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, which he simply does not have the speed to do. Baltimore’s defense does not ask as much out of the MIKE (Middle Linebacker position), because there is added linebackers to set the edge on the outside. He has a similar skill set to Jameel McClain, who may not be ready for the beginning of the season, only bigger, younger and more physical.
Rolando McClain can fill the void left after losing two starting Linebackers, with the capability to take over as the leader of the defense (with some maturing). Placing him in line with a group of Super Bowl Champions, could motivate him to fulfill his potential. If he were to rank among this year’s draft class, he would still be considered among the top; if not better than everyone else.
In acquiring McClain, the Ravens are at a low risk/high reward situation; with the ability to take one absolute need off the board come draft time. Ozzie Newsome has followed the best player available philosophy, and can only do so if the team is already filled with capable starters. McClain would have the opportunity to grow into a great player; if Baltimore would make a deal for him.