The Bears came up short in every way defensively last season and they’ve spent a good bit of the offseason addressing those weaknesses with help from outside the organization.
They signed Jared Allen and LaMarr Houston to play defensive end before drafting a pair of defensive tackles and they also selected cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round to go with a slew of safeties signed away from other teams. Not all of the changes involve new faces, though.
Some involve new places, including the move of Shea McClellin from defensive line to linebacker. McClellin has dropped weight and picked up quickness this offseason, leaving defensive coordinator Mel Tucker feeling quite optimistic about what the 2012 first-round pick can do at his new spot.
“I’m super confident. We want to be big and physical, and he goes from being the smallest guy in the defensive line room to the biggest guy in the linebacker room,” Tucker said, via the team’s website. “He’s very athletic. You watch him move around in our offseason program and in our coaching sessions and he looks like a linebacker. He looks at home. He looks very comfortable. When you go back and look at some of his tape from Boise State and the Senior Bowl, he looked comfortable in a two-point stance as well as in space as a rusher and in coverage. He’ll tell you that he’s comfortable doing that.”
The Bears are looking at McClellin as both a strong-side and middle linebacker this offseason and he will compete with Jon Bostic, D.J. Williams and Khaseem Greene for snaps alongside Lance Briggs. If the leaner build and return to collegiate stomping grounds pay off, the Bears defense will be moving in the right direction after a long 2013 season.