DT McClain earns praise, NFL combine invitation
Yes, it's that time of year when we break out the "NFL Draft" tag again. Defensive tackle Terrell McClain, turning heads at the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, said Thursday night that he has been invited to attend the NFL combine workouts in Indianapolis next month.
McClain is the first USF player invited to this year's combine -- the Bulls had six players at last year's event, and all six found their way onto NFL rosters during the 2010 season. "Dancing Bear" has high praise coming in this week -- ESPN.com draft guru Todd McShay rated him as the No. 2 draft prospect playing in the game, behind only UNC's Marvin Austin.
"McClain didn't have a huge year on paper, but the more we study him, the more impressed we are with his ability to disrupt plays in the backfield and hold his ground at the point of attack," McShay writes. "He needs to show improvement as a pass-rusher, though, and we'll be watching him in that area against a solid but unspectacular group of offensive linemen."
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has also noticed McClain this week, leading his Thursday observations with praise for the run-stopper.
"South Florida's Terrell McClain has been outstanding in individual and team drills," he writes. "The mammoth defensive tackle has shown excellent strength and power while holding the point against the run. He has repeatedly anchored well against double teams, and flashed exceptional power while defeating blockers inside. Given his size, strength and run-stopping prowess, McClain is going to be a highly coveted prospect as the draft draws closer."
McClain also made the Shrine Game slideshow at SI.com -- cool to see him in the East-West uniform.
ESPN.com's current draft ratings have McClain as the No. 9 defensive tackle in the draft. Where does that fall in the overall draft? Last year, the ninth defensive tackle was East Carolina's Linval Joseph, who went in the second round with the 46th overall pick.