One of the hottest story lines of this offseason was the switch of 2012 first-round draft pick Shea McClellin from defensive end to linebacker. Given his high draft status and the large expectations placed upon him, it’s safe to say that McClellin underwhelmed as a defensive lineman in his first two seasons.
Many are calling McClellin’s position switch his “last chance,” but I think we need to clarify that it would be a last chance with the Bears, not with the entire NFL. McClellin is still best suited to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense where he can rush the passer, and teams love his athleticism. As Lance Briggs put it on Tuesday: “He’s an athlete, he’s an athletic linebacker and athletic linebackers can play in this league.”
Before I’m willing to even entertain the notion of McClellin flourishing in a different system with a different team, I’m excited to see what transpires for him here. He will make plays based on his speed and instincts alone. If he can grasp the intricacies of playing linebacker, he could excel at the position.
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