Alabama’s Rolando McClain is set to visit Falcons

Will Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) be clapping it up in the Falcons huddle next season?  (Associated Press)

Will Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) be clapping it up in the Falcons huddle next season? (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – The Falcons have spent a great deal of the offseason trying to fix the secondary.

They signed cornerback Dunta Robinson to a six-year, $57-million contract. They  brought in coach Tim Lewis to basically coordinate the secondary. They traded cornerback Chris Houston to the Detroit Lions.

With the draft inching closer, it’s become clear that the linebacker unit will receive some attention during the NFL draft, which is set for April 22, 23 and 24.

On Monday, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain is set to visit the team. He revealed that he will visit the Falcons, Jacksonville and the New York Giants on Sirius radio on Tuesday while chatting with Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News and  Jim Miller.

The Falcons are allowed to bring in 30 players for pre-draft visits. They can bring in an unlimited number of  local players.

In most of the Mock Drafts, McClain is slated to be off the board when the Falcons pick with the 19th selection in the first round.

This visit clearly falls under the team’s due diligence policy.

McClain is 6-foot-3 3/8, 254-pounds and is considered a middle linebacker prospect. He would not seem to be a good fit for the Falcons, who have been pleased with the play of Curtis Lofton.

The Falcons have also held private workouts for  Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and Texas Christian linebackers Daryl Washington and Jerry Hughes.

There are also some internet reports that  Penn State linebacker Sean Lee has a private workout scheduled with the Falcons.

The Falcons currently have six linebackers on the roster. Here’s how they performed last last season:

Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) discusses the importance of keeping fit with kids. (By PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) discusses the importance of keeping fit with kids. (By PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Lofton – Led the team in tackles with 160 tackles (118 solo tackles, 42 assists). He had four tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

Stephen Nicholas – Was fifth on the team with 82 tackles (59 solos, 23 assists). He had three sacks, four tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also led the team in special teams tackles with 13.

Mike Peterson – Was second on the team with 140 tackles (97 solos, 43 assists). He had one sack, seven tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries, one interception, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

Spencer Adkins – Flashed some speed on special teams late in the season. Had three special teams tackles. Was active for five games as a rookie.

Robert James – Spent most of last season on the practice squad before being activated to the roster on Dec. 29.

Coy Wire – Made 14 tackles (eight solos, six assists). He had two quarterback hurries, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He added nine tackles on special teams.

What’s up with all of this attention for the linebacker position? Could Lofton move outside to make room for McClain? Would the Falcons be smart to shift to the 3-4 to accommodate Lofton and McClain in the middle?

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97 comments Add your comment

Joe Galascione

March 31st, 2010
7:11 am

Second

March 31st, 2010
7:15 am

Second

March 31st, 2010
7:15 am

McClain is going to be a great NFL player – for some other team. . .

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 31st, 2010
7:22 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Alabama’s Rolando McClain is set to visit Falcons http://bit.ly/bwFwu4 [...]

IceFan

March 31st, 2010
7:37 am

Enter your comments here

IceFan

March 31st, 2010
7:39 am

I’ve always preferred the 3-4 over the 4-3 and McClain and Lofton would be awesome in the middle. I don’t see it happening though.

Saw on ESPN yesterday where a couple of analysts see the possibility of Dez Bryant sliding down to the Falcons. I don’t see that happening either but we would HAVE to take him if he did, right?

LaylowATLN

March 31st, 2010
7:42 am

Our linebackers are good but great if we can get some head hunters then lets go for it. We do need someone to step up & knock someone out. We have not had that hard hitter on the defense in long time & thats what we need.

Willie Coyote

March 31st, 2010
7:43 am

They don’t have the personnel on the defensive line to shift to a 3-4. They would need to draft Cody over McClain to do that or go get Grady Jackson back.

Mike Smith is a 4-3 guy and he hired other 4-3 guys so I don’t think that’s changing. They did show some 3-4 looks last year in some of their blitz packages and I expect that to continue.

florida falcon

March 31st, 2010
7:59 am

95th! When is kickoff? Can’t we fast forward thru baseball!

Deep South Falcon

March 31st, 2010
8:04 am

IceFan–I hope we don’t take him! He is a menace! However, I would like that scenario to happen, because we might be able to trade out of the 19 with Dallas. Because Jerry Jones covets Dez Bryant! We would also be able to pick up another pick, hopeflly a second round pick, and we would still be able to get “The Spoon” before the saints got a chance!

liljb1

March 31st, 2010
8:06 am

Actually I would rather have Sean Weatherspoon and have him start over Nicholas this year and have Nicholas and Peterson switching it up during the game.

dave-a-rino

March 31st, 2010
8:07 am

It’s Spoon, and if not available then Graham, and if not available then Pierre-Paul, and if not available maybe even Dunlap(though Blank probably won’t approve him)…They are gonna get a talented defensive player and most likely a linebacker/end type that can pressure and cover

falcon 71

March 31st, 2010
8:20 am

DLed is Schultz gone for good from the AJC? 10 days is a long time for family matters

DDawgDavis

March 31st, 2010
8:43 am

TCUs tandem are going to be special. LBs seem deep this year. Deeper than last year? The USC trio came and went, but not much have those guys.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 31st, 2010
8:43 am

Willie Coyote — They flashed some 3-3-5 at folks in some passing situations. Not true 3-4 last season. Nicholas would go to DE and blitz or drop into coverage.

section 340

March 31st, 2010
9:04 am

Amen Florida Falcon, Is baseball over yet? I think there is a chance Derrick Morgan Drops. Take him all day. Then Spoon or graham. If not them, TRADE DOWN. I’ve read that the Patriots covet Graham. Would we trade down to 22 to pick up a second rounder? I would. Pick up best available. I wouldn’t mind getting DOL’s man crush Pouncey as long as we have a second rounder to get a defensive body in the top 60.
Matt Ryan is the Truth
In Dimitroff and Smith We Trust

Roll Tider

March 31st, 2010
9:18 am

No way he falls anyway, but I disagree that the Falcons lack DL personnel to run a 3-4. Babs and Jerry would make awesome DE in that setup. Walker and Lewis both seemed pretty sturdy against the run and could plug the middle as a rotation, with Jamaal possibly being your third DE. Honestly, with Peterson slowing down a bit, I could see them moving him inside and standing Abe up as the 4th backer some this year. Just my two cents…

Bird

March 31st, 2010
9:18 am

Rolando is a BEAST

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 31st, 2010
9:28 am

Falcon 71 — That’s a personal matter. I have no info.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 31st, 2010
9:29 am

what about Babs legal trouble any news on what might happen with him , what about the commish is he waiting for the legal part to play out before he suspends him ? I am just hoping we don’t lose him for a long stretch

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 31st, 2010
9:35 am

South Ga Dawg Fan — At the combine I heard the Commish will likely speak to Babs case in the weeks before training camp. Need to call Gwinnett and get an update on the case.

Tnfalcon

March 31st, 2010
9:37 am

Linebacker is a definite need. Not sure how McClain would fit with the falcons. I don’t believe McClain will last to the #19 pick. I don’t think a 3-4 defense is in the plans.

GetwhatUpayfor

March 31st, 2010
9:42 am

Dimitroff and Smith will get it right.

To bad DRADS and GT got it wrong>>>>>>Fire Paul Hewitt.

PMC

March 31st, 2010
9:45 am

They sure are interviewing a lot of early round linebackers…. perhaps so many that they may not even go that route.

The Dogfighter Returns

March 31st, 2010
9:52 am

ro plays with the kind of attitude that all great players exhibit.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t spend all his money at the buffet table. at 258 lbs he can’t get any bigger.

Tnfalcon

March 31st, 2010
9:52 am

I am looking for the Falcons to go with Derrick Morgan, Piere Paul, or one of the other DE. If not then Weatherspoon or maybe Brandon Graham. Atlantas needs are on the outside not up the middle.

SILKY SLIMM

March 31st, 2010
9:57 am

D LED HIT ME BACK CHECK THIS OUT DO YOU SEE THE FALCONS GETTING SPOON, GRAHAM, OR THOMAS WITH THE FIRST PICK? THE PATROITS HAVE THREE SECOND ROUND PICK DO YOU SEE DIMTROFF TRADING BACK IN THE SECOND ROUND DRAFTING FILLING EITHER POSTION BY GETTING ONE OF THE PATRIOTS PICK SINCE HE BUDDY WITH THEM HERE THE WEBSITE FOR PROOF http://www.mynfldraft.com/NFL-Mock-Draft-2010-round-2/

blord

March 31st, 2010
9:57 am

Good player…we have Lofton.

memphis falcon

March 31st, 2010
9:57 am

FalconFan770

March 31st, 2010
10:05 am

WE WANT BAY BAY THOMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chris taylor

March 31st, 2010
10:15 am

Giants will take McClain. Pierce is gone and he would fill that whole for them nicely. We know the players ATL has held private workouts for are 1st-2nd rd talents. Does anyone know if we’ve held workouts for any 1st-2nd rd offensive players? I hope we go LB/DE & definately would hate to be surprised with nonsence WR/RB pick in the 1st. I would get Graham. Will Abraham be productive enough to resign & start after 2011? I know we got some promising people at DE but are any of them Abe’s heir apparent? Don’t think so. With the lack of rookie season productivity of DE’s Graham would have time to come into his own before taking over the most important 4-3 position – blind side DE.

FalconsFan284

March 31st, 2010
10:34 am

If we only looked at the linebackers then, yes, adding McClain would make sense. However, we do not have to offensive line to handle a full time 3-4 alignment. Without a big bodied defensive tackle, to chew up space and occupy multiple O-linemen, then those linebackers could not get through the line. It just doesn’t make sense when we have needs at defensive end and outside backer first.

Marcus

March 31st, 2010
10:36 am

@Iceman (7:39 am comments) – I thought about that, too .. but then we would have 3 WRs basically the same physical makeup (Roddy, Jenkins, Dez Bryant) and game. Mayock even said that Dez Bryant’s film shows that he is the downfield threat, not really the intermediate/short route runner. Who becomes the underneath guy (slot)?

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 31st, 2010
10:41 am

Good post, DOL, thanks!

Do we know (or do you have an educated guess) which 30 players the Falcons had private workouts with? That would certainly be fodder for thought. I saw where Pittsburgh is interviewing Graham, concerned if he can really handle OLB duties (stance, skill set, etc.).

BigTimeTECHFan

March 31st, 2010
10:42 am

We should get Ben Tate with 19th pick.

chris taylor

March 31st, 2010
10:49 am

Dez Bryant didnt finish his drills well at his pro day. Looked like he was out of shape and ran unconsistent 40 times. Just looked lazy, to me. Like he wasn’t serious enough, like he is entitled to the consensus best WR. Just seem to have the heart of a Falcon.

chris taylor

March 31st, 2010
10:56 am

Forgot the word “didn’t” in last sentence.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 31st, 2010
10:57 am

D-Led, in your opinion, IF the Falcons draft an OLB candidate this year – who loses their roster spot? James is out I suspect, and Adkins is, at best, on the bubble.

I’m thinking Peterson is safe for the year, Loften and Nichols are on board for the long term, and Wire has his spot assured because of special teams contributions.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 31st, 2010
11:00 am

SILKY SLIMM — At the combine, TD stated a preference for staying in the first round. Don’t think they’ll trade back.

Bangkapi Ajarn — Thanks. Trying to get the Falcons to release their list like the Steelers and a few other teams do. No luck so far. Have to agents to tell us when their players are going on visits and they don’t like to do that on the record most of the time.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 31st, 2010
11:06 am

Bangkapi Ajarn — Think it’s too early to talk about folks losing their spots. But right now, Robert James is sitting in the spot vacated by Tony Gilbert. You have to figure that they’ll draft a linebacker and sign at least two, maybe three as undrafted free agents. That would give you 9 or 10 guys and six spots.

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 31st, 2010
11:07 am

D Led, how bout some league rankings. Those stats make Peterson sound like a good player instead of an old stiff. I think he rated like 103rd in the league. How does he really stack up?

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 31st, 2010
11:08 am

BigTime, maybe the 19th pick in the 4th round

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 31st, 2010
11:17 am

Thanks for the feedback, D-Led.

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 31st, 2010
11:21 am

If the Falcons can’t get a top skills position player in the first round, the OLB is the obvious choice. As far as DE’s, by the 19th pick their will not be a DE worthy of the pick, so OLB will be the pick. D Led, if the OT from Rutgers falls that far do you go with the best player available?

#1 BAMA FAN

March 31st, 2010
11:26 am

RO is a big time player and a winner. Teh Falcons would be fortunate to get him, but he will not be there when it’s their turn. The BAMA players used to say that when they were in on a tackle that number 25 would make them “blackout” because he hit so hard. RTR

blord

March 31st, 2010
11:58 am

Can’t believe Spikes has fallen like he has. Not that I want him but he goes from a pontential top 10 pick to a 3rd, 4th or 5th rounder. I guess poking a dude in the eye is frowned upon in the NFL. That and a LB who runs slower than an OLineman.
I still would like to see Spoon in the first but I also think LB is a postion that we can get great value at later so I wouldn’t be that upset if we went another direction. D Watson do a lot of our team if he is the guy.
I have a feeling that we will hear an offensive players name at 19. Anyone else feel this way?

silky slimm

March 31st, 2010
12:04 pm

I mean d led we gonna draft with the 19th pick of course im saying do you seem him trading back up in the second round by talking to the patriots getting one of their second rd pick that what im asking

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 31st, 2010
12:04 pm

blord, I think you may be right. A lot of good ones in the 19th range as opposed to DE’s and CB’s. I think if the right guy falls to Falcons, they will take him.

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 31st, 2010
12:08 pm

Slimm, if they do it won’t be with the Pats, their mo is to trade their second this year for your first next year. Somehow they find a taker every year. Hope it’s not us.