McClellin a reach at 19th overall

The Chicago Bears addressed their need for a pass rusher with DE Shea McClellin but, considering the talent that was still on the board, they might have overextended themselves.

The newest Chicago Bears defensive lineman, Shea McClellin, is a good football player. He's tough, versatile and has a high football IQ.

Yet he's far from a slam dunk, which is what NFL teams typically look for in first round selections.

McClellin can absolutely get after the quarterback. He plays with good leverage and has active hands. He has a good arsenal of pass rush moves and knows how to finish plays. His explosiveness off the line, coupled with his lateral quickness, should make him a quality situational rusher for the Bears. Rotating with Israel Idonije on passing downs, McClellin could be a very valuable player.


DE Shea McClellin
Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire

But is that what a team needs out of a first-round selection? A guy who may not get on the field for more than 20 plays a game?

While he plays with good technique and fights hard, he struggles against the run. His 19 bench press reps at the combine demonstrated his lack of strength, which will hurt him at the next level.

GM Phil Emery talked about McClellin being an every down player with versatility, having played both defensive end and linebacker at Boise State, but that won't happen right away. If he can build strength, McClellin can be a quality all-around edge player but he's not there yet.

It wasn't necessarily a bad selection, especially considering the lack of pass rush opposite Julius Peppers last season. Yet, when you look at the players that were still on the board at 19th overall, you realize this pick was a bit of a reach.

The Bears passed on the following prospects to draft McClellin: Syracuse DE Chandler Jones, Alabama DE Courtney Upshaw, Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus, Baylor WR Kendall Wright, Iowa OT Riley Reiff and Stanford G David DeCastro.

Everyone of those players is more of a sure thing than McClellin, specifically DeCastro, who will be a slam dunk 10-year offensive lineman in the NFL. Yet Emery went with his gut on this one. It was a way of showing that he's in charge and that what Emery wants, Emery gets.

At just 6-3, 260, McClellin is undersized for a typical Lovie Smith 4-3 defensive end. His 32.75-inch arms are also less than ideal. Obviously, Lovie conceded to Emery on this one.

We'll wait until he puts his pads on before we begin to judge him as a football player. But if McClellin doesn't work out, people will being comparing Emery to former GM Jerry Angelo.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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