The Oakland Raiders announced the signing of No. 1 draft pick Rolando McClain just before the stroke of midnight Wednesday. ESPN reports the Butkus Award-winning linebacker from Alabama signed a five-year, $40 million deal.
The Raiders must think they got their money's worth. At the very first practice of training camp, McClain was already lining up with the starting defense.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Vittorio Tafur, on the spot in Napa, tweeted the first team line-ups on the Raiders' first practice plays. "No surprises on back 7," Tafur said, referring to the linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties on defense. "Wimbley, McClain, Scott, Johnson, Branch, Huff and Asomugha."
Wimbley is free agent acquisition Kamerion Wimbley. McClain is your new top-rated inside linebacker from the 2010 Draft. The rest are veteran starters from last season.
McClain is not the only rook to crack the starting D. Second round selection Lamarr Houston lined up at starting defensive end.
"If first day is any indication, Lamarr Houston will be on the field as much as Rolando McClain," tweeted the Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald.
Outside of Raider Nation, fans are sweating bullets. Camps are starting left and right, but the NFL.com's rookie contract status tracker shows that only three of 32 first round picks have signed.
Rolando McClain is the top pick from the draft to be already under contract.
So feel free to feel smug, Raiders fans. You already lead the league in something.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who amused to see that Derrick Burgess is up to his old tricks in New England.