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Bears plan to play Shea McClellin at defensive end

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When the Bears drafted Shea McClellin with the 19th pick of the first round, the common response was that they had gotten themselves a good defensive football player.

No one was quite sure where McClellin would wind up in the team’s defensive alignment, though. He played all over the front seven at Boise State and it wasn’t exactly clear what role the Bears saw him playing in their defense. They cleared that up after the draft by announcing that they plan to play McClellin at left defensive end opposite Julius Peppers. General Manager Phil Emery explained his decision.

“Say an offensive tackle was trying to reach to my outside,” Emery said, via “He instantly has a feel for feeling that block, getting his body in the right leverage position and working off that block to the ball; taking as natural and as quick a path from blocker to ball as possible. Some people possess that at a high level. Some don’t. They get stuck on blocks.”

Emery knew a lot about McClellin’s ability to be a 3-4 outside linebacker because Emery scouted him for the Chiefs before he came to Chicago. Emery said that it helped the Bears that he played that role in the Senior Bowl because it helped disguise the pass rushing skills they liked from him as a defensive end.

Not everyone expects him to stay at that spot, though. Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that McClellin could replace Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker at some point down the road.

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17 Responses to “Bears plan to play Shea McClellin at defensive end”
  1. weimtime says: Apr 27, 2012 10:51 AM

    This pick scares me. But it’s also interesting. Very interesting. Passing on the LT from Iowa and other DE with a more polished pedigree scares me, BUT this is supposed to be Emery’s specialty. And the Pack wanted him so there’s like an 80% he’ll be good based on that (yes, Bears fans can give props to the Pack front office).

    ….Hope you know what you’re doing Phil! “Phil, like the groundhog Phil?” “Yea, like the groundhog.”

  2. weimtime says: Apr 27, 2012 10:55 AM

    Also, you don’t draft a DE only to move him to LB if he’s a failure. If he’s a failure, you put a red tag in his locker. You don’t hand him the most important position on the defense.

  3. dv5454 says: Apr 27, 2012 10:58 AM

    “Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that McClellin could replace Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker at some point down the road.”

    Jensen added, “but no pressure or anything.”

  4. slizzyslizz says: Apr 27, 2012 11:10 AM

    Time will tell on this one…but I can’t say I’m excited by this pick considering we are a 4-3 defense and this guy really has no true position. Reminds me a lot of Matt McCoy on the eagles a couple years back coming out

  5. dabears4life says: Apr 27, 2012 11:14 AM

    Really like this pick. From what I have seen from him on film – he plays like a clay matthews with that non stop motor and ability to get to the ball. In Phil we trust.

  6. skolvikesskol says: Apr 27, 2012 11:17 AM

    The bears are truly underrated. Once they went from the mad martz style of offense to keeping the te’s in the blocking formations they were unstoppable until jc got hurt. As a vikes fan i am not looking fwd to this season with just how darn goos everyone else is… Sorry nfl, but with the quality that det chi and gb puts on the field next season the nfc north has the 3 best teams in the nfl.

  7. chibears187 says: Apr 27, 2012 11:19 AM

    Like it. Dude makes a living in the backfield. No QB will set up shop in the pocket. Be happy Bears fans. This is a good thing. He’ll chase a quarterback to the parking lot if he has too, he’s “crazy” like that

  8. mecos47 says: Apr 27, 2012 11:20 AM

    Can Shea block? We need O lineman.

  9. jimr9999us says: Apr 27, 2012 12:18 PM

    Reminds me of John Thierry, another ‘tweener in the 4-3.

    Makes me think Emery has designs to take the Bears to 3-4 after Lovie’s gone…No pressure Lovie!

    Right now my happiness over the pick is based solely on it preventing GB from getting him. Best case we got a poor man’s Freeney but I don’t know if the kid’s strong enough.

    He will certainly be playing somewhere on the field 4 years now so a very safe 1st pick from Emery. It’s never too early to start thinking about your next contract.

  10. jimcal229 says: Apr 27, 2012 1:32 PM

    In a short amount of time Emery has strengthened Toub’s special teams.Added decent journeyman depth on both sides. Drafted a quality young player with a non stop motor,good work habits and character that will force Smith to use different looks and play calls,maybe even a 3-4 set here and there,and has the potential to maybe one day be the future face of the franchise. Smith and his 5 mil salary has and will be given players to coach and develop or else. And the icing on the cake we stole a player Green Bay[and N.E.] wanted badly. Hang on Bears fans this franchise is entering this century at last.

  11. tangysizzl says: Apr 27, 2012 1:34 PM

    I Like Shea McClellin a lot as a 3-4 OLB and a little less as a 4-3 DE but he should be a good player no matter where he plays, hes got the motor and the skill to play well.

    His concussion history scared me a little in the last few days, a reported 4 concussions in college which he says was only 1.5 really. Makes you wonder if he was concussed when asked about it because there is no such thing as a half concussion.

    Bears took McClellin a better fit for 3-4 OLB and the Packers took Perry whos supposedly a better fit for 4-3 DE, kind of strange if you ask me.

  12. windycityman says: Apr 27, 2012 2:08 PM

    I love all the bandwaggon fans. You’re jumping off the couch when we sign Marshall and Bush. You love the things Emery has done so far but then doubt him on this? It’s not like he drafted some 7th round projection.. but even if he did.. Tom Brady is all I have to say.

  13. briggsisbrokeagain says: Apr 27, 2012 2:09 PM

    Actually, McClellin is a better rusher from a 3 Pt. stance, so he should be a very good pass rusher for the Bears and can play a lot of positions if he had too. I like this pick. Stay healthy kid.

  14. jimr9999us says: Apr 27, 2012 2:13 PM


    Yeah, funny how that played out. One way to catch a team is to keep them from getting better…I respect Emery for stealing the Packer’s boy (imagine the press talking up Shea playing opposite Clay…ugh) here’s hoping he’s quick enough at the NFL lvl because instincts are not enough.

  15. stavreafavre says: Apr 27, 2012 4:06 PM

    I grew up hating Jim McMahon and the Bears. Never been able to hate Urlacher, even when he’d beat the Packers, because he plays the game the way it should be played. Don’t think I’ll be able to hate McClellin either.

  16. dukemarc says: Apr 27, 2012 6:39 PM

    Thompson will be glad to pick this kid off the scrap heap in 3 years, after Emery’s experiment fails.

  17. lilmiddle78 says: Apr 28, 2012 3:30 AM

    It’s really about enough to make me sick how much is hung on every word out of the mouth of Mayock or Kiper or door #3.. If they say a guy is a little better suited to play in a certain scheme that doesn’t meen he’s incapable of playing in another!! Heck, even if he has only played in the one scheme, if he’s a good edge rusher then he stands a good chance at thriving in the other!! Really the difference could be looked at as “2 feet over & 2 feet back”..

    And with this guy, he played all over the front seven for Boise State!! Because he was good everywhere they put him, not because they couldn’t find an effective launch point for him..

    Shea, put your hand in the dirt, put your a$$ in the air….. And GO GET THE QUARTERBACK!!! But try to be careful around Stafford, he’s kinda fragile!!

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