MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 24: Steve Slaton #23 of the Miami Dolphins runs with the ball through abn attempted tackle by Robert McClain #27 of the Atlanta Falcons during a preseason game on August 24, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Falcons defeated the Dolphins 23-6. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
The Falcons have brought a few largely unknown players on board this off-season, and now that they've survived the final cuts, it's time to take a closer look at them. First up, defensive back Robert McClain.
After the first pre-season game, it didn't look good for Robert McClain.
An interception nearly off-set the fact that he was repeatedly torched in that game, but not enough. While I was semi-intrigued with him, I thought so little of his chances that I wrote the following:
His pick bought him some time, but McClain looked out of position, out of sorts and running out of time on almost every other play he was involved in.
After that, McClain was mostly quiet, but the coaching staff clearly saw enough potential here for him to make the final roster over Dominique Franks, Peyton Thompson and Marty Markett. Now that we know that, what's to like about Robert McClain?
In 2010, McClain was a seventh-round pick for the Panthers. He wound up playing in all 16 games, mostly on special teams, registering 14 tackles and a single pass deflection. He spent 2011 with the Jaguars and didn't get into a game. At 5'9" and 195 pounds, he's a smaller cornerback, but he did manage to run a 4.45 40 leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft.
What McClain brings to the table is good ball skills and decent athleticism. If that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, it's not: McClain did not come out of college with record-breaking performance or off-the-chart measurables. By all accounts, though, he is bright and has everything you need to pull together a quality backup. That may be all he ever is, but that also may be all the Falcons ever need him to be. Certainly not a bad use of a fifth cornerback spot.
Your thoughts on McClain?