Yesterday, the New England Patriots worked out former Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Terrell McClain. A third-round pick out of USF last season, McClain made a solid impact as a pass rusher for the Panthers but was horrendous against the run. In fact, he was rated by the Pro Football Focus as the worst starting DT against the run in the NFL.
McClain is just 24 and can improve in that facet, but being the league’s worst DT against the run is certainly a major warning flag even as a rookie. However, McClain’s true value in this league is likely as a rotational pass rusher as he develops. It is early, but he doesn’t project as a starting defensive tackle due to is incredibly poor work in run defense. But that’s okay, because he has the explosiveness to become a disruptive presence as a backup.
As a rookie, McClain showed that the concerns over him coming out of USF were true, and his 6’2″, 291 frame doesn’t exactly help him as a run defender. He gets pushed back too easily, and I don’t think he has much of a chance of being signed by the Pats. If he does get signed by New England, then it’s because the Patriots feel like they want a rotational pass rusher on the inside. I think we already have that role settled with Jermaine Cunningham, especially given his performances in the first two games of the 2012 season.
The Patriots also worked out Antonio Dixon, and I’ll have my thoughts on him shortly.
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