Name: Terrell McClain
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 300
Experience: 4 seasons
College: South Florida
Key stat:While he played in 13 games and was a backup for all of them, McClain tied for third among all defensive tackles with three tackles for loss. Only Nick Hayden and Tyrone Crawford – four each – had more stops behind the line of scrimmage than McClain.
Contract Status:Signed through 2016.
2014 Impact: Was one of those players that I was excited to see play during the 2014 season after what I was able to observe from his work with the Houston Texans the previous season. Got hurt in the preseason and I thought that set him back for his development as far as helping the team. Is a rotational one technique or nose tackle. Wasn't as consistent playing this season as he was on tape for the Texans. There are times where his technique will come and go. Is one of those players that can really bring it when he is on but that wasn't always the case. Plays with a big motor and effort but didn't always transfer into his ability to rush the passer. There were snaps where he was good at collapsing the pocket. Have seen him on tape be more disruptive in this area. Has the tools to be better. Was a little too up and down in the way he played. Thought he was much better in the running game where he showed more explosive qualities. He was a penetrating player with the Texans and flashed that as well during the season but needs to make it more of a consistent part of his game. Seemed the more opportunities that he received later in the season the better he played. Was one of those linemen that bought into what Rod Marinelli and Leon Lett were doing with him when it came to chasing the ball. There were plenty of times where you saw him down field working to make a tackle. Has a chance to really help this team if he could become more consistent in the way he plays down after down.
Where He Fits: Has the ability to play with some position flex as an under tackle or nose. Needs to have a good off season and better luck with his health. Has the physical traits to be a full time starter if he improves in a couple of different areas. Have seen him come off the ball as a pass rusher but needs to be more consistent doing it. There is some explosive quickness to his game but needs to make sure that is done down after down. Is the ideal fit for the position with his body type and ability for what these coaches are asking him to do. Flashes enough plays to make you believe you have something with him. Hard working player that can get better.
Nick Eatman: The Cowboys were hoping for a little more out of McClain, who was either hampered by injuries or just didn't get on the field as much because he was battling for playing time with guys like Nick Hayden and then Josh Brent. But don't forget McClain helped turned a game around against the Giants when he made a tackle in the backfield and nearly stripped the ball for a turnover. That play led to a defensive stop in a tie game and the Cowboys eventually pulled away. Moving forward, I think the Cowboys would like to get Hayden back at a reasonable price but will be satisfied playing McClain at the 1-technique as the starter. Athletically, he teams up nicely with Tyrone Crawford and if he can stay healthy, he has a chance to shine in Marinelli's defense.