The Oakland Raiders have given a big contract to Rookie Inside Line Backer Ronaldo McClain who was their first round draft pick this season. He has been given a 5 year deal worth $40m with $23m of this guaranteed. This might seem like a bit of a gamble on a rookie but he might just be the final cog needed to repair the long busted Oakland run defense. The Raiders have struggled badly against the run since going to the Super Bowl in the 2002 season, and have the unenviable record of having lost at least 11 games in each of the last seven seasons. Their 29-83 seven year record is the second-worst in the NFL, but their run defense is by far the worst having allowed an average of 143.7 rushing yards per game and 146 rushing touchdowns.
So why do they think McClain could be the answer?
Well he almost single handily turned around Alabama’s fortunes in his three years there, when under the auspices of highly respected defensive coach Nick Saban he helped Alabama who ranked ranked 46th in the nation in run defense before his arrival to 28th in his first year and 2nd in both his final two seasons.
It is a big step up from College football to the NFL but if he can make the leap then he could be one of the best acquisitions of the 2010 draft.