Not a whole lot happening on the free agent front, as far as I can tell. Part of that is due to Pro Day at Rutgers. Oh, yeah, and one other school of note has a Pro Day going, too. Little place called the University of Alabama. See what I did there?
Actually, most of the Giants' staff will be down in Tuscaloosa perusing the big-time talent, not the least of which is linebacker Rolando McClain. So this might be a good time to have a discussion on the relatives merits of McClain for a team that hasn't drafted a first-round linebacker since Carl Banks in 1984 and hasn't had much luck drafting them anywhere in recent years.
The scouts will be interested to see McClain run and jump, since he declined to participate in the 40-yard dash and vertical leap at the scouting combine because of a hamstring problem. When healthy, he's a supremely talented athlete, and the No. 15-drafting Giants staff undoubtedly will be taking copious notes to determine if he's worth trading deep into the top-10 to get.
Not that Pro Day performances are the be-all and end-all of the scouting process, but the Giants might just luck out. McClain has been caught in a performance vice, the doctors telling him to rest and rehab while the draft process is pushing him to perform. If he throws up a substandard 40 time, his stock might just drop ever so slightly enough that the Giants would be positioned to take him with a lesser trade than originally thought necessary.
"He’s as close as he’s going to get right now," McClain's agent, Pat Dye, told the Birmingham News yesterday. "It’s a Catch-22. The doctors are saying the only thing you can do for this thing is rest and rehab it. Well, he can’t rest because he’s got to train. "We’ve got to get through this Pro Day and probably a few private workouts and hopefully let it calm down and be ready for mini-camps after the draft."
The Great Blue North Report ranks the 6-foot-3, 254-pound McClain as the top middle linebacker prospect in the draft, right ahead of Florida's Brandon Spikes. And, almost needless to say, the idea of picking McClain has been a consistent theme among this blog's commenters. And, good news for them, two of the four CBS Sportsline's mock drafters have McClain falling to the Giants, while one other lists him as going no higher than 12 to Miami. The other one has him going at No. 5 to Kansas City.
Quite a range. But the fact that many believe McClain will fall to at least spitting distance of the Giants could make for an interesting first-round decision.
The Giants would not only get a guy with mobility and ball skills that have created favorable comparisons with Ravens Hall-of-Famer-in-waiting Ray Lewis, but a guy who could bring immediate leadership to a unit that faltered badly last year.
"I've been a leader," he said at the combine. "I had to lead seniors as a freshman. A lot of guys saw the way I worked and they admired the way I worked, so it really wasn't that hard. They admired me, so they actually listened."
At this point, it would be a shock if McClain got past the Giants. The question is, will he be there for them at all? Or might they try the free agent route as a remedy instead?
UPDATE: Word out of Alabama is that McClain ran a 4.74 in the 40, which is about what the scouts figured he'd run.
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