A large chunk of the contingent of NFL fans that support the Chicago Bears were pretty apprehensive when they selected Shea McClellin with the 19th overall pick back in April’s draft. To a certain extent, those concerns could be considered valid, at least at that point in time.
The Bears elected to go with the small town McClellin, out of Boise State, despite other, and potentially better, options left on the board at that point. From preseason up on through the first two weeks of the regular season, however, it’s hard not to be impressed by McClellin.
Coming into the season, the expectations for McClellin were pretty well defined. With Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije, among others, already in the rotation, McClellin was expected to serve as more of a situational pass rusher than anything, as he continued to develop. But he’s already surpassing expectations.
What was a steady adjustment to the style and speed of the NFL has turned into McClellin now potentially battling for a starting gig. He’s been extremely impressive in his first two games at the professional level, notching his first one and a half career sacks last week against the Green Bay Packers.
There’s no doubt the Bears need help getting to the quarterback, and McClellin knows how to do it. Coming from a 3-4 scheme at Boise State, we know he’ s fast and can get into the backfield in a hurry. He still has a ways to go in his development as a defensive end, but with Idonije not being overly effective in two games, McClellin could end up pushing him for playing time.
The fact that Shea McClellin has performed so well early on has allowed the Bears to mix up their rotations on the defensive line. They’ve been able to get guys in and out, and it even allows the Bears to get Peppers in at defensive tackle for a spell to bring a real speed rush up the middle.
I wasn’t a big fan of Shea McClellin initially, but he has made me a believer. He’ll have his growing pains, but he knows how to get to the quarterback, and I look forward to watching his development as the season wears on.