It's safe to say that the Shea McClellin experience has been checkered so far. When he was drafted to play as a 4-3 defensive end by the Chicago Bears, after many pro scouts projected him to a 3-4 outside linebacker, it befuddled many fans.
Forget that he was a hand in the dirt DE on about "70% of his snaps" at Boise St., his draft stock was buzzing because 3-4 teams were showing interest in making him a full time linebacker. You couple that with the unknown status of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, and Bears fans saw a ready made 6'3" 260 pound replacement for their aging soon to be Hall Of Famer.
The notion of McClellin being miscast at defensive end was topic number one when discussing his play on the Bears.
We now flash forward two years, and the DE detractors were proved correct.
I thought his best pro position was going to be as a strong side outside linebacker, that would rush the passer on third downs, but I was definitely on board with him playing as a Tampa 2, one gap, defensive end. His issues came in the run game, and more specifically, his inability to set the edge or disengage with offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage.
Moving off the line will allow his athleticism and speed to help him out, and it's really the only option that was left to salvage his career after two years of middling results.
The Bears are high on his potential at LB, and McClellin busted his ass this off season to get ready for the position switch. He cut weight, cut his body fat percentage and increased his speed.
McClellin has been lining up as the starting SSOLB in OTAs, and getting reps as the #2 middle linebacker. With projected starting MLB D.J. Williams sitting out, 2nd year LB Jon Bostic has been running with the ones at the Mike. Ideally the Bears would like McClellin and Bostic to battle it out for the Sam position, but with Williams missing time, it'll give both young players a chance to make hay in the middle.
Where do you think Shea McClellin will begin the 2014 season at?