We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
When the Chicago Bears drafted Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin in the 2012 NFL Draft, they hoped that he would eventually team up with Pro Bowlers Julius Peppers and Henry Melton to help the Bears’ defensive line become one of the most feared in the entire league. Now, two years removed from that draft pick, Peppers and Melton are no longer with the team and McClellin is no longer a defensive end.
The “Shea McClellin-to-Linebacker Experiment” has officially begun.
McClellin struggled mightily in his two years as a defensive end, accumulating just 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles in 10 games started over that time. His lone highlight came last season against the Green Bay Packers when he sacked, and subsequently injured, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The injury helped the Bears stay in contention for the division until they ultimately let their playoff chances slip away during the rematch with the Packers in the regular season finale. Though the Bears’ defense disappointed as a whole throughout the season, McClellin stood out as one of the biggest underachievers on the team.
This offseason, the Bears’ coaching staff decided to give McClellin a chance to revamp his career and move to outside linebacker. There he will compete with the likes of Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene and Christian Jones in order to re-establish himself as a potential starter for the Bears. McClellin will need to not only show speed and pass-rushing skills, but will also need to develop the ability to read plays at the line of scrimmage, shed blockers and get out in pass coverage.
The team, and fans alike, should know much more about “Shea McClellin, the linebacker” in the coming weeks as we quickly approach the season opener.
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th. We’re 50 days from kickoff. Are you ready???