It’s no secret that the New York Jets have a lot of holes to fill. The Jets will need to grab a few impact players in the 2012 NFL Draft in order to get back to where they were only two seasons ago, as one of the best teams in the AFC.
One of the players that could be available when the Jets get on the clock is Boise St. linebacker Shea McClellin. McClellin is the best outside linebacker in the draft and would help shore up what has been an aging and, at times, an ineffective unit.
McClellin possesses good size at 6-3 and 255 pounds. He has very good speed for a man his size which helps him get around the edge in the pass rush. He has excellent power and can engage most tackles and has the ability to push them back. His arm technique is excellent and uses a superb swim move to beat past tackles.
McClellin could line up outside as a linebacker but has the talent and ability to line up as a defensive end if necessary. His work in coverage is adequate enough for him to stick with most tight ends and running backs but can be exposed at times. His hip swivel in coverage is not his strength and it can lead to him losing a step right off the bat against a faster tight end or running back.
The Jets need leadership and McClellin is exactly that. He demonstrates that both on and off the field. He has one of the higher football IQ’s in the draft. After losing safety Jim Leonhard to a second season ending injury in as many years and unknown as to whether he will return as a free agent, the Jets could use some leadership.
The Jets linebacking corps was once considered one of the best in football. The talent is still there. Aaron Maybin, the team leader in sacks last season is back but it is questionable if he can repeat his success. Calvin Pace had an off year and can still be a factor but with ten years under his belt he might be wearing down. Eleven-year veteran Bart Scott created some turbulence following the last game of the season when he flipped off some media and requested a trade. Bryan Thomas is coming off a season ending injury when he tore his Achilles tendon. The Jets need youth and athleticism from the linebackers especially in a Rex Ryan defense where the pass rush is generated by blitzes and schemes.
Adding McClellin would give the Jets an added boost to their pass rush, inject youth into an aging group, and give Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine options on defense. McClellin could be a solid pick for the Jets in the first round.