Cornerback Robert McClain comes in as the Falcons 21st-ranked player. Click here to read about the scoring system that earned him that distinction.
Total Score: 51
Player Grade: 54 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 8 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 25 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +3
Positional Bonus: +4
McClain certainly earned the honor of being the Falcons most pleasant surprise in 2013. After being a player that looked like he was on the verge of being cut, he managed to stick on the roster. And after the injury to Brent Grimes in the season opener, he was catapulted into the lineup in the Falcons’ Week 2 win over the Denver Broncos where he was one of three Falcons to pick off Peyton Manning. McClain progressed a few weeks later to man the permanent nickel cornerback spot for the Falcons.
That position had been a major problem area for the Falcons for a number of years, but then McClain showed up and solidified it. He is penned to man the spot once again, amidst a competition at the right cornerback spot. While McClain could figure into that role, it’s likely that Falcons first rounder Desmond Trufant will win the battle. And it will be important for McClain to continue to play at a high level, given the likelihood of the ups and downs that will come with a rookie starter.
McClain is not the biggest, fastest, or most physical corner in the world, but he makes up for it with excellent awareness and ball skills. He is rarely caught out of position and can make plays on the ball. If he continues to showcase that talent, he could be in line for a big contract in the future. McClain will be a restricted free agent after this season, and ostensibly is signed through the 2014 season because of it. That is also the final year of Asante Samuel’s contract, and thus a strong 2013 campaign could put McClain in a position to be the front-runner to replace Samuel in 2015.