The Falcons had a few pleasant surprises last season, ranging from Vance Walker's continued emergence as a disruptive force in the middle of the line to Garrett Reynolds' pre-injury play. Robert McClain may have surpassed all of them.
McClain was a relative afterthought for most of us, a guy who made the roster as potentially the last cornerback. He played well early in the season, however, and found himself on the field consistently throughout the rest of the season. McClain finished the year with 61 tackles, 10 pass deflections and an interception, and he was consistently above average in coverage. All told, an encouraging season for the former 7th round pick.
The question I want to discuss today is whether that gives McClain a shot at the starting job. He would need a few things to break his way—Dunta Robinson being cut or moved to the nickel full-time, Brent Grimes not being re-signed, the Falcons not using a high-round pick on a cornerback—but the talent seems to be there. As a restricted free agent, McClain is almost certainly a lock to stay in Atlanta, and the Falcons may be interested in getting him a long-term deal if they can afford it. He's just 24 years old.
What do you think?