McCloughan was born David Kent McCloughan on November 20, 1966 in San Leandro, California. His father was Oakland Raiders defensive back, Kent McCloughan, and his brother, Scot McCloughan, is the former general manager of the Washington Redskins.
McCloughan was drafted in the third round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and spent his first season with the team. He spent the 1992 NFL season with the Green Bay Packers before spending his final two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. After his playing career, he became a scout for the San Francisco 49ers.