As a tried and true Chicago Bears fanatic, I’ve grown accustomed to rooting for players that may have serious flaws in their game (anybody remember that “Rex Grossman is our starting quarterback”) or ones that could get better through repetition. With that in mind, I believe Shea McClellin falls into the latter half of the previous statement as over the course of his 2012 rookie campaign with the Bears, McClellin showed flashes of brilliance from the defensive end position.
A first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, McClellin amassed 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks with no interceptions on the season. Although his numbers appear pedestrian, for a rookie campaign in which McClellin was in a rotation that also included Israel Idonije, Corey Wootton and All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers, it’s a wonder McClellin even saw the field let alone have any type of meaningful impact while in games. So what makes one think that 2013 is going to be a breakout season for McClellin?
Well, for one, no Idonije in the Bears locker room means more first team snaps for McClellin on the field. Also another year and a full offseason with the Bears should have allowed McClellin to develop a few more potent pass rushing moves and techniques. Another major factor that could propel McClellin is the ascension of fellow defensive end Wootton. The fact the Wootton could also have a breakout season in 2013 along with the two of them most likely having to battle throughout training camp (and possibility through the early part of the regular season) for first-team reps will only make both players better and force them to perform at a near All-Pro levels on a daily basis.