Urlacher gone. Roach gone. No cap space. No starters in sight on the roster. And it's unlikely we draft 2 starting caliber linebackers in the draft. So what do we do? The answer is staring us right in the face. So much so that it's become a running joke here on WCG.
We always laugh at the idea of Shea playing linebacker. But contrary to popular belief, Phil Emery never said Shea wouldn't play linebacker. Lovie Smith did.
Emery's last quote on McClellin:
"We're excited about him as a pass rusher. We want to get him on the field more on regular-down situations. And where his versatility is, that's a plus for him. So if he ends being a linebacker in some situations, then good."
A lot of us were disgruntled last year that our 1st round draft pick only played on 3rd downs. But how about this. On 1st and 2nd down, Shea plays strong side linebacker. Then on 3rd down, we bring in our nickel corner and move Shea to defensive end. Then he can still be a pass rushing D-end. This is exactly what Von Miller does, so it can work. He played linebacker in college so it wouldn't be foreign to him.
And no he's not too small to play linebacker in a 4-3. Nick Roach's measurables? 6'1, 234 lbs. McClellin's? 6'3, 260lbs.
This way we won't have to draft 2 linebackers early and get the most out of our versatile players. We can draft a middle linebacker (Arthur Brown, Alec Ogletree, Kevin Minter, or Manti Te'o) in round 1 or 2, then focus on the interior line and cornerback/ receiver depth in the other rounds.
While we're at it, here's another idea. We're searching all over the place for a nickel corner. Hayden won't re-sign, we whiffed on Captain Munnerlyn, and Bowman and Mcmannis are just special teamers. So what about Brandon Hardin? He was a corner in college, and he has great size and speed that would match up well against tight ends. I like Major Wright and Chris Conte as our safeties, and this might be the best way to get Hardin on the field.
(I've been reading a lot of Bears articles and forums and came across all this stuff, so not my original ideas, just thought I'd bring them to WCG)
And I'll toss in a little Mock Draft while I'm here
1. Arthur Brown LB
2./4. Tyrann Mathieu CB, Brian Shwenke C (Either way, they're mocked all over the place)
5. Ace Sanders WR
6. Best Guard Avaliable
Just food for thought. What do you think?