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Raiders reach to land run stuffer in McClain

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Dan Parr
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Posted April 22, 2010 @ 8:53 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr


In the wacky world of the Raiders, this makes too much sense.

Yes, the Raiders were caught reaching again in 2010. This time, the move that will be second-guessed for some time is the selection of ILB Rolando McClain, a player projected for the middle of the first round at best, at No. 8.

McClain is considered the best middle 'backer in the draft, but with more pressing needs at offensive tackle, defensive tackle and quarterback, the Raiders have opened themselves up to harsh criticism again.

Unless Oakland is moving to a 3-4 defense, Thursday night's decision to draft McClain was a direct shot at MLB Kirk Morrison, who, despite making at least 116 tackles every season he has been in the league, is not a valued piece on defense for the Raiders. McClain could battle with Morrison for a starting spot, but it would be no surprise if Morrison gets traded or cut before the start of next season.

The Raiders' run defense has been a weakness for the past few seasons, and Morrison has been blamed for contributing to that problem. Oakland is hoping a more athletic, hard-hitting player like McClain will help the team become stronger vs. the run.

Questioning the Raiders is fine, but no one should be laughing at this pick. It filled a need and McClain is a quality prospect.


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