A few weeks ago Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman made the announcement that former first-round draft pick Shea McClellin will move from defensive end to linebacker for this upcoming season. The move was met with some skepticism from the fanbase, though McClellin sure seems to be doing everything he can to ensure himself a spot on the field this season.
ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson is reporting that McClellin has been working with a new trainer out in California and has made significant improvements to his body so far this offseason. According to his trainer, McClellin has dropped 11 pounds and eight percent body fat so far while working with him. If this is indeed a true statement, McClellin will be lighter and faster as he moves into his new position, which will help him track down ball carriers across the field.
There is little doubt that McClellin has some talent rushing the quarterback and will benefit from not having his hand in the dirt and having to face off with NFL tackles on every possession. The big question mark with the move to linebacker was whether or not he could function is pass coverage at this level. By dropping a few pounds and hopefully becoming a little lighter on his feet, McClellin should be able to improve his quickness to be able to keep up with running backs coming out of the backfield or tight ends coming off the line.
McClellin has proved that he is quite an athlete which means he should be able to figure out how to function on defense without having to rush the QB. He was able to run a 4.63 40-yard dash at the scouting combine a few years ago, so he should have enough speed to contribute significantly on the newly refurbished Bears defense.
With Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston on the field at defensive end, McClellin will benefit from offenses needing to account for the two pass-rushing ends and add a few sacks to the team total. If the McClellin experiment works out well and the team can add a few pieces in the draft, this Bears defense will be in great shape heading into the season opener.
Mike Cuddy is a Chicago Bears writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeCuddy, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.
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