Friday, April 27, 2012

With The 19th Pick In The 2012 NFL Draft...


Who is Shea McClellin?

The first round of the NFL Draft seemingly played right into the Bears’ hands, with just two defensive ends off the board.  One of those ends was Bruce Irvin, who was a complete surprise at 15th overall to Seattle.  I highly doubt he was one of the seven players that Phil Emery was considering, so really the Bears were on the clock with all but one of the defensive end prospects that they coveted (Quinton Coples went 16th to the Jets).

Shea McClellin out of Boise State
So who would it be?  Chandler Jones of Syracuse?  Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois?  What about an offensive lineman?  Nope.  It would be Shea McClellin out of Boise State.  So who exactly is Shea McClellin?

He’s a 6’3”, 260 pound defensive end who was a three year starter for the Broncos.  NFL.com’s scouting report said he had fifth-round value.  Here’s what else they said:

“Strengths:  McClellin is a strong player inside for the Broncos who uses good leverage to get under heavier offensive linemen and jolt them back in their stance. He is aggressive, stout, and can hold off linemen and smother tight ends at the point of attack. He has no problem tackling and is a good pass rusher.”

“Weaknesses: McClellin will have a tough time convincing teams, even though he has been productive, to take a shot on him early in the draft because of his size. He has displayed enough athletic ability for teams to consider him at outside backer, but he could stand to lose weight as he enters the next level.”

So NFL.com probably thinks the Bears reached here, because he lacks good size for the defensive end position.  But what he lacks in size, can apparently be made up for with his tenacity. 

CBSSports.com had a much rosier outlook on McClellin.  They describe him as an efficient, hyperactive edge player who put on 12 pounds of muscle before the combine though they say he falls short of “elite athlete” status.  They also say his hyperactivity can get the best of him, as he overpursues the ball sometimes. 

The description SCREAMS Clay Matthews, Junior.  But will be he as good as Matthews?  Only time will tell.  I think they were looking for someone to complement Julius, not necessarily to be a star.  They need another guy capable of getting to the quarterback when Peppers is double teamed.  His strength should at least give him a chance of getting off single blocks.

Fun Fact about Shea McClellin:  He grew up on a farm in Idaho off of Chicken Dinner Road (no, I’m not making that up), and is described as country strong.  He said his athleticism comes from chasing chickens around the farm.  It’s not exactly the pro shuttle, but hey, it got him to the NFL, so it must work.

The more I read about him, the more I like him.  While he’s not the guy that hardly anyone projected the Bears to pick, he’s certainly a solid prospect.  Plus if Lovie Smith gets canned anytime soon, and the Bears bring someone in who coaches a 3-4 defense, they have someone who can translate to it. 

As for the reception to Phil Emery’s first draft selection as the Bears’ GM, the move was met with incredible skepticism.  As David Haugh points out, it might be instinctive because of Jerry Angelo’s history of terrible, God-awful drafts.  Rick Telander says it’s a curveball.  Both fair points, but isn’t this what Phil Emery was brought in for?  To do his due diligence on players with his background as a scout?

To me, we have to see the kid play before we can make ANY judgments on the 2012 NFL Draft.  Too much can happen between now and September and then the end of the season.  Time will tell, let the kid play before you judge.

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