Shea McClellin was the very first draft pick that general manager Phil Emery made after coming to Chicago, taking the seemingly hybrid DE/OLB in the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft. McClellin has better-than-average speed from the outside, and has shown bursts that have chased down quarterbacks from behind in the open field.
With that said, McClellin has also struggled as a defensive end, a position that he has played exclusively since being drafted by the Bears. He has not always been a starter, and struggled finding a foot-hold in running situations. The team would send him in on obvious passing downs in hopes that his speed, and his pass-rushing prowess, would pay off.
On Thursday, while speaking to the media at the NFL Combine, head coach Marc Trestman confirmed what many had been speculating:
The 6'3, 265 pound McClellin will be a linebacker from here on out.
Trestman stated that McClellin will be practicing at the strong side (SAM), as well as taking reps in the middle (MIKE). He will be 'competing' with 2nd-year Jonathan Bostic, which will basically amount to each of them taking similar reps and finding out the best fit for each of them.
We know Lance Briggs will be anchoring the defense at the weak side position (WILL), so it will be interesting to see how the other two play out. I wouldn't completely rule out Khaseem Greene being competitive just yet, but it does seem likely that he will once again be in a backup/developmental role with the Bears next season.
What do you think about McClellin finally scooting back off the line and into a linebacker role? Could you imagine him being the starting middle linebacker?