Those are the only reasonable explanations for what happened in the NFL Draft last night. No, I’m not talking about Josh McDaniels scoring an F minus at the Bill Belichick School of Outsmarting Everybody in the Room. I’m talking about the Oakland Raiders breaking from its commitment to exasperating foolishness by picking Rolando McClain, a 6’3, 254 lb. beast out of Alabama.
With the best DTs (a desperate need) off the board, it was an incredibly logical and intelligent move. McClain’s not a project or the guy with the fastest 40 at the combine. He’s a real football player – a difference maker who rocks an off the charts football IQ that allowed him to keep the Alabama defense running like a well oiled machine. I have no doubt that he has the talent not only to step in and have an immediate impact on a tissue-soft run defense but also to become the centerpiece of a great one.
It’s enough to make a penitent, weary fan at her wit’s end zip over to the NFL Shop and pick up her first jersey since Tim Brown retired. Truth be told, I very nearly did, and then I remembered something: as a member of the Oakland Raiders, there’s an 80/20 chance that Rolando McClain’s career is over before it even has a chance to begin.
The pollyannas amongst us might believe that this decisive, abnormally prudent selection is a sign of great things to come but I’m not buying it. Tom Cable is still the coach, Stay-Puft Russell is still the quarterback and Al Davis still lives. Until those things change, this organization will continue to be a backwards place where talent goes to die. And for a guy as seemingly awesome as Rolando McClain, that’s just not fair.