Tis the season for surprising NFL cuts, evidently.
This week, the Philadelphia Eagles waived defense end Jason Babin, just one year removed from an 18 sack season in 2011 that culminated in a spot on the All-Pro team.
Babin was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he’ll likely be suiting up for his new team on Sunday.
Meanwhile, there are reports the Oakland Raiders may decide to part ways with once-promising young linebacker Rolando McClain, (above) who was selected eighth overall in the NFL draft just two years ago.
The New York Jets did not put a claim on Babin at all, evidently wanting no part of the former Eagle. However, I don’t think there’s any real down side to looking into the 23-year-old McClain, should he hit the waiver wire.
McClain is an inside linebacker, like Bart Scott and David Harris, and the Jets could badly use some youth and athleticism on the inside. Rookie third-rounder Demario Davis has shown promise, but the more the merrier.
Make no mistake. Rolando McClain can play. Some have viewed him as one of the top inside linebackers against the run this season, and he’s been a steady tackler, missing just one tackle in the run game all year.
However, McClain struggles mightily in pass defense, and he’s had his fair share of off-field problems. That, combined with his occasional propensity to take plays off, have led to the discontent Oakland.
He’s definitely got a lot of work to do to resurrect his pro football career. He has the talent, but the Raiders have never able to fully harness his true potential. A change of scenery would probably do him some good.
The Jets have struggled in run defense this season, and a lot of that has to do with Bart Scott getting older and losing a step, and David Harris looking like a shell of his former self. McClain’s fresh legs would be a welcome sight.
If the Raiders do cut ties with McClain, anyone who claims him will be taking a risk, but the potential reward might be worth it. He’s young enough to turn it around. I’d like to see the Jets put a claim on him. It couldn’t hurt.
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