McClellin ready to rush the passer

New Chicago Bears DE Shea McClellin says he can play down end or stand up outside linebacker, but he'll be most effective as long as he's getting after opposing quarterbacks.

Defensive end Shea McClellin, selected by the Chicago Bears yesterday in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, understands his role in the NFL.

"I consider myself a rush end and that's what they want me to do," McClellin said today at Halas Hall. "I'm going to get after the quarterback and I'm going to love it. It's going to be great."

McClellin was a three-year starter at Boise State, starting 38 of 49 games in which he played. He picked up 20.5 sacks during his collegiate career, showing a relentless motor when getting after the quarterback.

Chicago was 19th in the league last season with 33.0 sacks as a team. The priority for the front office heading into this year's draft was to take a player that can help improve that area of the defense. With his pedigree as a pass rusher, McClellin should be able to fill that need.

DE Shea McClellin
David Banks/US Presswire

In college, he played both linebacker and defensive end. Bears GM Phil Emery said yesterday that the club plans on playing McClellin at left defensive end and not as an outside linebacker.

"I really don't prefer one [position]," he said. "I think I can be effective in both. As long as I'm getting after the quarterback, I think I can be really effective. At Boise State this year I was kind of all over the place. I really think I can be effective with my hand in the dirt, standing up, whatever the team wants me to play and needs me to play."

McClellin said he knew being drafted by the Bears was a real possibility when the club sent defensive line coach Mike Phair to work him out individually.

"I think whenever a team sends a coach out to see you, I think you have to take it a little serious. I had a great workout that day and we went in and did some board work. I thought I did a good job. I thought I might have a chance."

As a rush end, McClellin compares his game to Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings, who led the league in sacks last season, due mainly to Allen's high motor.

"He plays hard and that's the way that I like to play."

Emery said yesterday that the team graded McClellin highly as a special teams player. He was on the kickoff return and punt return teams at Boise State, roles he believe he'll inherit with the Bears.

"I think I'm definitely going to be on every special teams here. They believe I can do that and I know I can do that," said McClellin. "I'm used it and I just like getting out and competing. I expect to have a big impact on special teams."

Before the draft, a report came out stating McClellin had suffered three concussions in college. In today's NFL, where player safety is a top priority, collegiate concussions are a big concern. Yet McClellin says the report was false.

"I don't know where the reports came from. I had one concussion in 2012. I didn't miss a game. I missed one practice they kept me out. In 2009, it wasn't really a concussion – I had concussion-like symptoms. I was sick before that so it was more precautionary. It wasn't really a concussion. Basically just one [concussion]. I don't know where three came from. I changed my helmet up this last year and I haven't had any problems since. I'm good to go. No worries from me."

McClellin said, no matter his role on the team this year, he's looking forward to the opportunity to compete on the field.

"I just want to help the team win games and win a championship," he said. "What happens, starting or whatever, that's up to the coaches. I'm just going to go out and work hard and just compete every day."

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

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