Dallas Cowboys Offseason Awards: Who is the 2014 Defensive MVP?

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Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain (55) in game action against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Dallas beat Detroit 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Rolando McClain 2014 Dallas Cowboys Season Grades

Rolando McClain was not only the most complete LB for the Dallas Cowboys, but one of the most complete in the entire NFL. The 6’4” 260lbs LB from Alabama played like a giant, he splashed the backfield, pursued ball carriers, covered sideline to sideline, and was a threat in pass coverage. With the exception of the last 4 games (including playoffs), he was a complete player without any true weaknesses.

Rolando McClain’s year-end grade averaged to 2.25 (by far the highest LB grade I’ve given this season). If it wasn’t for his injuries, and subsequent pedestrian performances Weeks 15 through the playoffs, McClain would have a staggering 2.5.

Perhaps what impressed me the most was his ability to fluidly drop back in coverage and take away midfield passes. His tall frame towered down field and allowed only a small window between him and the secondary. This ability alone is what makes me feel, if somehow retained, he would stay at the MIKE spot and Sean Lee would be the one moving.

His injuries clearly caught up with him and when the back-to-back concussions put a bow on his season, he clearly couldn’t have continued even if the Cowboys advanced past the divisional round.

Pro Football Focus thought very highly of McClain as well. McClain finished with a 13.9 PFF score which ranked 8th in the NFL for ILBs. His performance was very comparable to Sean Lee’s performance the year before when Lee scored 11.6 and ranked 7th in the NFL.

Another interesting detail the scouts at PFF found was opposing QBs’ Passer Ratings against McClain. The season average QB rating against Rolando McClain was 84.4. That may sound high but for a LB that is pretty darn low. Only 2 of the top 12 ILBs scored better than McClain in this category.

For more on Rolando McClain check out: Dallas Cowboys Offseaon Player Review: Rolando McClain the Lottery Ticket

Next: Now we look at DE Jeremy Mincey…