Chicago Bears Training Camp: Five Players To Watch

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Shea McClellin, LB

Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Shea McClellin (50) pressures Detroit Lions quarterback

Matthew Stafford

(9) during the second half at Soldier Field. Detroit Lions defeat the Chicago Bears 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it (a Drake reference for those of you so inclined). I did not, and in many ways still have not bought into the rhetoric around Shea McClellin these days. I suppose it’s those images burned into my mind that I can’t shake. Poor angles and loss of containment during his time as defensive end; whiffing on open field tackles as a linebacker.

It seems that Fox and Fangio don’t have those same hang-ups. From the start they talked up his athleticism and spoke glowingly about the potential they saw in him. Wait, what? We’re talking about the same guy, right Vic?

More than a week into training camp and it seems the talk that I dismissed as lip service was actually true sentiment; Shea McClellin is actually on track to earn a starting linebacker spot.

Aug 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears linebacker Shea McClellin (50) during the third quarter of the preseason game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

In immediate hindsight, it’s not all that crazy. He is a former first round pick after all, and you don’t get chosen that highly in the draft without being gifted athletically. That said, it is still early in the preseason process. There are more camp practices ahead and more preseason games to be played, so I won’t hedge my bet just yet.

My defensive starter predictions featured Christian Jones and Mason Foster as the starting inside linebackers, and from the sounds of news coming out of Bears camp I’m still half right about that. I’ll stick with my guess for now, but that’s not to say that I’m rooting against Shea.

As Bears fans we just want our players to be good and we develop a dislike when they can’t pull that off regularly. McClellin simply hasn’t been very good in his first two years in the league, but it’s a new year and a fresh start on a new defense with an ace coordinator changing things up.

McClellin is definitely worth watching, at least for now, to see if he can change all of our minds about who he is as a football player.

Next: Bears 3-13 in 2015? No way, says Boomer

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