Switch to Linebacker Could Signal the End for Shea McClellin

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Dec 2, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin (99) during the second half at Soldier Field. The Seahawks won 23-17 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

So where does this leave us with Shea McClellin, the latest rehab project for the Bears?  Can the tweener DE successfully navigate a position change or do we chalk up this miscast draft pick as another bust?  There’s a case to be made that a position change could yield big rewards.  Just ask Seattle Seahawks’ Bruce Irvin, drafted just a few spots ahead of McClellin.

Irvin was moved from DE to OLB in the Seahawks’ hybrid defensive scheme, with fantastic results and credits the move with “saving my career” :

"The Seattle Seahawks made a surprising decision this offseason to convert Bruce Irvin from defensive end to strong-side linebacker. Irvin had led all rookies in 2012 with eight sacks as a situational pass rusher after being selected with the 15th pick in the draft."

Back in 2012, I noticed McClellin spying Russell Wilson when the Seahawks stormed back to beat the Bears in what was considered their signature victory last season.  McClellin certainly has the athleticism to cover the ground that linebackers need to cover, just don’t ask him to set an edge.  

Whether or not McClellin has what it takes to pull off the move remains to be seen.  Phil Emery will go out of his way to tell you how disruptive McClellin has been in pressuring the quarterback.    Maybe a move to linebacker will match him up against a tight end instead of an offensive tackle?  Maybe getting a running start and not keeping his hand on the ground will give McClellin the ability to suddenly shed blocks?  Color me skeptical, but I’ve seen these position switches happen before and it’s usually just a harbinger of an August departure.

What do you think?  Will McClellin be able to make the switch to linebacker?  Is this just a sign that the end is near?  Chime in and…