Shea McClellin (R) of Boise State holds up a jersey as he stands on stage after he was selected #19 overall by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
After years of first-round futility with Jerry Angelo, Bears fans were hoping for a first-round home run in Phil Emery's draft. Though that was unlikely with the 19th pick overall, the Bears surprised many by picking Shea McClellin, a defensive end from Boise State.
With that pick, the Bears addressed a definite need. The pass rush left something to be desired, and McClellin will inject fresh blood into it. Emery was clearly pleased with the pick.
"We are excited about him for several reasons: He’s got really quick feet and hands as a pass rusher, he has natural hips as a pass rusher. Especially with us in terms of teams, where he would line up, right or left side. He’s a good natural athlete and can do either one of those depending on what rush unit we want to send out there. What particular lineman of our opponent we want to attack. What matchup would create the best, if we felt Peppers needed to go inside and Shea needed to go over to the right that might be a variability. In this young man, in his athletic ability, in his very high level natural football instincts, gives us that versatility."
At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, the biggest concern for him is the lack of size. He is much shorter than the Bears' other ends and the average offensive lineman. The Bears are hoping his speed and natural ability will make up for it"
“It’s just natural instincts in terms of feeling pressure," Emery said. "Say if an offensive tackle was trying to reach to my outside, he instantly has a feel for feeling that block, getting his body in a right leverage position and working off that block to the ball. Taking his natural and his quickest path from the blocker to the ball possible."
The important thing for Bears fans to practice here is patience. Yes, unless you're a Boise State aficionado, you've unlikely heard of McLellin. And yes, his size is an area of concern. But it's way too early to decide if he is a hit or miss. Give him a few years in a Bears uniform before making that decision.