Syracuse linebacker-defensive end Jameel McClain has a Wednesday workout scheduled with the Eagles.
McClain, a Washington High grad, would be very happy if the April 26-27 NFL draft brought him home, and not just because he grew up a Birds fan at 30th and Lehigh.
"I would love to play for the Eagles, not only for my dreams, but for the things I could do for the community," said McClain, who double-majored in communications and sociology, graduating last spring. "The community has given me so much - it's only right that I give back."
McClain, who now lives in the Northeast, is scheduled to speak to students at Blair Christian Academy in Germantown today at 10:30 a.m.
It's hard to assess McClain's draft stock. It seemed headed pretty high when he led the Big East in sacks as a junior, with 9 1/2, but as Syracuse crashed and burned to a two-win season in 2007, McClain's stats suffered. Coach Greg Robinson had used him exclusively as a defensive end the previous year, but Robinson had to move McClain all around last season, and he finished with only 1 1/2 sacks.
"There are a lot of things that aren't in your control," he noted yesterday.
But McClain feels he did well at Syracuse's pro day and at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he figures he interviewed with just about every team.
At 6-1, McClain said he has dropped from his listed 256 pounds to 245, anticipating that the NFL would see him more as a linebacker who can double as a pass-rush specialist than as an every-down defensive end.
McClain said he has had "a conversation or two" with the Eagles in advance of Wednesday's workout, but he doesn't know how he might fit into their picture or into the draft overall, where he is expected to go in the middle to later rounds. Some evaluators feel his ultimate value is as a reserve linebacker and special-teams player.
"I know you have to expect the unexpected," McClain said. *