By no means do I consider myself a draft guru, but the immediate backlash after the Bears took Boise State’s Shea McClellin was kind of mind boggling. New GM Phil Emery has had a fantastic off-season thus far (trading two 3′s for Brandon Marshall, signing Michael Bush & ridding the organization of Mike Martz), so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt on the McClellin pick unlike many in the Twitterverse.
McClellin recorded 20.5 sacks and 33 tackles for loss in his 4 years on the blue turf, and brings youth and speed (4.63 40 yard dash) to a defense that is getting long in the tooth. As good as 54, 55, 90 & 33 are, they need an infusion of youth around them to help prolong their ability to remain a top flight defense.
The former Boise baller is 6’3, 260 pounds & has the obvious ability to add muscle as his career progresses. What I like about McClellin (besides the fact that the Patriots and Packers were looking at him), is his versatility. He can play outside, or along the line opposite Julius Peppers.
Emery views McClellin as a 4 down player (although I wouldn’t want him playing a ton of special teams), but too many are down on him initially because he’s white. Yup, I just went there. It’s kind of sad, isn’t it?
You’d think we were on the Venice Beach courts and just picked up Billy Ho to run 5′s. He is a bit of a tweener, but he is explosive, can rush in a two point stance, rush with his hand in the dirt, has good closing speed & can drop in coverage (which is a staple of the Bears defense). And despite only being 260 pounds right now, he can shed blocks and make plays in the backfield.
If you didn’t know McClellin was white and I said the Bears just drafted a 6’3 260 pound pass rusher with the ability to drop in coverage, you’d be thrilled. But the fact that he’s white must mean that he’s high motor stiff. I know most are thinking that, and that’s fine. Me? I’ll reserve judgment until we see him in orange and blue.
Do you remember in my mocking the mock drafts piece where I said how comical it was to give immediate post draft grades? Well, the same rule applies here. Let’s see what this kid has before writing him off because of his skin tone or the competition Boise State played against. Lovie Smith knows what he wants in his defensive players, and Emery deserves the benefit of the doubt right now. If he proves to be Dan Bazuin 2.0, then we can bash Emery. But for now, let’s hold back judgement and let this pick marinate. That’s fair, no?