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Bears Fri Apr 27 2012

Bears Get Defensive in First Round

Chicago BearsThe Bears grabbed Shea McClellin with the 19th pick in Thursday's first round of the NFL Draft. Yay!

I totally had McClellin going in the number 19 slot to Chicago in six of my nine updated mock drafts over the last four months. In the others, I had the Bears reaching on OLB Bruce Irvin (instead of Seattle), pegging 28-year old Brandon Weeden as their new third-string QB (because he is sure to be much more mature than old back-up Caleb Hanie), and taking Robert Griffin III after 18 other teams overreacted to a neither-here-nor-there scouting report.

But I nailed the pick. As for the Bears? It looks good... but we'll see.

The scouting report says McClellin - a 6'3", 260 lb. pass rusher from Boise State - says "He gets off the ball well, he can bend back inside and he closes well. He needs to work on his ability to get off blocks, but he's tough, strong and does a nice job of setting the edge when he's lined up at defensive end." McClellin is listed as an outside linebacker, but could play defensive end in the Bears' 3-4 defense, rotating with Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije.

McClellin had a solid combine, scoring the fastest 40-yard dash (4.63 seconds) for a defensive lineman. The combine report says of McClellin, "He is aggressive in his slants to get inside and create disruption in the backfield. He is stout despite playing underweight, and can hold off linemen and smother tight ends at the point of attack."

(Here's where the draft turns into a totally random crapshoot - in that same report, it says McClellin has "fifth-round value.")

Yet Chicago can possibly nail both the short term and long terms aspects of this pick. Right now -- they get another pass rusher to improve a defense that finished 19th in the NFL in sacks with 33. For the future? Well, as the Sun-Times Sean Jensen writes, "But here's one long-term possibility: McClellin could become an option to replace Urlacher. Urlacher, 33, continues to play at a high level, but McClellin has the athleticism and intelligence to possibly play middle linebacker."

McClellin is a total small-town guy who thought he was better at basketball than football. McClellin majored in Communications at Boise State, and finished with 20.5 sacks during his time as a Bronco.

Naturally, the Bears may have made a mistake by drafting a defensive player when their offensive line has looked so bad the last few years. Others are just skeptical of the pick itself.

But if the Bears and new GM Phil Emery feel they got their guy, I guess that all we have to go with for now. The pick didn't get the Bears laughed out of the Radio City Music Hall, and the reports look mostly favorable for McClellin. Since we saw just the first round Thursday, the Bears may be looking to fill other holes during the next six rounds.

Basically, its way to early to judge whether this was the right pick or not. The Bears will have to wait and see if McClellin can hold his own and thrive in the NFL.

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