BR Rookie Diary: Shea McClellin

Bears defensive end Shea McClellin was elevated up the depth chart this weekend and is currently getting reps with the backups. Bear Report goes one-on-one with Chicago's first-round rookie.

The Chicago Bears attempted to address the team's pass rush needs in the first round of this year's drat by selecting DE Shea McClellin out of Boise State.

McClellin has taken reps with the third team all offseason but was elevated this weekend to the second team. It's obvious he'll have a significant role in Chicago's defense this year.

Bear Report caught up with McClellin after yesterday's practice.

"Look at all the people here tonight. This is great. Our first opportunity to play in pads and in front of the fans at camp. It's a real exciting time, that's for sure.

"Things are going well for me so far. It's a lot of work but that is to be expected. To get the results you have to put in the effort. That's no problem as I've always believed in the value of hard work.

DE Shea McClellin
Jerry Lai/US Presswire

"I had a good opportunity to play with the vets tonight. Anytime you are out there with them, you learn something. Right now, probably like very other rookie who is here tonight, I'm working on technique. You think that you know what you are doing but you get out here playing with guys who have been in the NFL for years and it's an entirely different experience. What I'm trying to do is to break down everything I do out here, then reconstruct things piece by piece to do everything better.

"The speed has definitely increased from what we did in minicamp. That's a good thing, as the first preseason game is not that far away. I love the uptempo style of play. It's a lot of fun. Tonight's practice was very physical and a lot of hard work. But that is the kind of play I enjoy best.

"Nobody is going to give you a free pass in the NFL so you might as well dig in and learn what it's all about. I expect many more intense sessions like this last one during our weeks in Bourbonnais.

"The coaches have been working with me on getting off the ball and building my tempo. I know that I'm big, but quickness and agility are also extremely important. You do things over and over again until you can do them faster. That is the only way to get better.

"I don't have much time to stand around and watch what other players are doing. I just work on what I do and try to get good enough to be able to help this team out. But that isn't to say that the veterans haven't been helpful. Anytime I've had a question, anytime I've needed any kind of help, they've been there for me, and I appreciate that.

"I've been asked how this experience differs from when I was playing in college. Well, first of all, this is now my job so its something I can and concentrate on 100 percent. There are no distractions. Also, I think I'm fortunate in that my coach at Boise State worked with coach [Rod] Marinelli before, so he was able to teach me during my college playing time a lot of the things that I am using now. It's definitely helped to make the transition from college ball to the pros much easier.

"As a rookie though you sit back and don't say much. Listening and watching are the important part of things. Being quiet and paying attention is vital if you want to fit in. This team has a lot of leaders, some very accomplished players. I can learn so much from them just by observing what they do on the field. I'm fortunate to have talented guys like that who have so much to teach me right here on the D-line.

"I've been playing like a half linebacker, half D-end because that is what I am accustomed to doing from college. I'd like to be able to transition some of those techniques to this level. Tonight I had some deep rushes on the passer, that kind of thing. Coaches want to see how physical we are with pads on and what we can do when we're tired. I am beginning to see how I fit in, but I know first I've got to get better. That's the importance of a practice like you saw out here tonight."

Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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