Why is it every year around this time there is some incredible inside linebacker that everyone drools over and demands that we take them with our first rounder? People on here have suggested taking Rolando McClain out of Alabama 5th overall. He would be the highest drafted inside linebacker since Brian Urlacher. Lets examine this fad for mike linebackers and their history with the NFL draft.
Why do we love middle linebackers so much? Personally, its one of my favorite positions on the field. He is the QB of the defense, the leader, the thumper, a bad ass. When I play Madden I'm always the middle linebacker on the defense. However, in todays NFL world of pass happy offenses the position has been seen as less and less valuable. Did you know that in the last 10 NFL drafts only 7 inside linebackers have been taken in the first round? GMs and coaches are far more interested in quarterbacks, defensive backs, running backs, pass rushers, and even TEs and outside linebackers. There is just not a huge premium on these guys as 1st round talents. Here is the list of the 7 ILBs who have been 1st rounders in this century.
1. Brian Urlacher (2000 NFL draft, 9th overall to Chicago Bears)
7. Jerod Mayo (2008 NFL draft, 10th overall to New England Patriots)
Inside linebackers have a low bust rate as 1st round picks. All these players are pro bowlers or least solid for their respected teams. (with the exception of Harris, go figure) Why would teams go for these guys in the 1st when their position usually dicates a 2nd? The answer is speed, speed, and speed. All of these guys can run a low to mid 4.5 forty. Its the side line to side line speed that intriqued the GMs enough to pull the lever on an inside linebacker in the 1st round.
This sets up my argument that Rolando McClain will be available to us with our 2a pick. He ran his forty in the high 4.6 range during his pro day. And the three teams teams drafting ahead of us in the 2nd round run a 4-3 defense, which many scouts speculate McClain would not thrive in. A lot of great inside linebackers tend to fall to the top of the 2nd: Karlos Dansby, Demarco Ryans, Posluszny, Tatupu, Maulaluga, and Lauranautis. And Mr. McClain will join their company as the Chiefs select him with their 2a pick.