Apparently not all what former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo did for the team was questionable. It’s early, but it is looking like new G.M. Phil Emery has inherited a young talented nucleus on the defensive line.
The Bears know what they have in defensive end’s Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije; both guys are very talented productive players, but likely won’t be playing for the Bears three years from now.
Emery quite possibly could have their long-term replacements in Corey Wootton and this year first round pick Shea McClellin.
Wootton first two years in the league were marked with injuries, and simply slow development. Wootton was standout DE for Northwestern Wildcats, but a torn ACL force him to stay for his senior season and work his draft stock back up.
After a slow start to his career, it looks like the Bears are finally seeing the potential of Wootton. Through three weeks of the season, Wootton has displayed the speed and athleticism that made him a college standout.
McClellin is Emery’s very first draft selection, and it came with much scrutiny. McClellin was lauded as one of the better 3-4 outside linebacker prospects in the draft. Emery and his scouting department saw enough film and up close in personal workouts to believe he can be a 3-point stance pass rusher.
For a player that was looking like a project (and to some extent he still is), McClellin has gotten off to a pretty good start. He’s second amongst rookie DE’s in sacks with 1.5, and has shown terrific athleticism, speed, and a high motor to consistently pressure opposing QB’s.
The Bears are also getting great contributions from their young interior defensive linemen; Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, and Amobi Okoye have been making their presence felt inside.
Melton is playing with more consistency at the three technique with Okoye being a decent rotational guy behind him. Paea looks quicker and more explosive off the line of scrimmage in his second year, attracting double teams and making plays out of them.
The Bears defense has 14 sacks on the season with the young D-Line collecting eight out of those 14. Emery has a great young nucleus on the defensive line he could build on moving forward.