The Bears on Thursday drafted Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin with the 19th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.The 6-3, 260-pounder, who grew up on a farm in a small town in Idaho, is a talented and versatile pass rusher who possesses natural instincts and a non-stop motor.
“I’m very excited to have Shea become a Chicago Bear,” Phil Emery said after making his first draft pick as the franchise’s general manager. “It helped fill a need for us as a pass rusher.
“We’re also very excited about Shea in terms of his all-downs ability. This is an all-downs football player, including special teams. This is a four-down player. Our special teams coaches gave him a blue level grade (the highest possible) as a special teams player.”
McClellin, who was at the site of the draft in New York City, told Chicago reporters during a conference call that when he learned the Bears were about to select him he was “definitely excited and happy just to be a part of a great organization, and I really can’t wait.”
McClellin was a three-year starter at Boise State, where he recorded 130 tackles, 33 tackles-for-loss, 20½ sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 49 career games. He registered 13½ tackles-for-loss and 9½ sacks as a junior in 2010 and 12 ½ tackles-for-loss and seven sacks as a senior in 2011.
Pro Football Weekly’s 2012 Draft Preview describes McClellin as a “lean, smooth-muscled, active, instinctive, college defensive end with a relentless temperament” as well as a “functional, character football player who plays better than he tests.”
“We’re excited about him for several reasons,” Emery said. “He’s got really quick feet and hands as a pass rusher. He has natural hips as a pass rusher. He’s a good natural athlete.”
Emery said that what impresses the Bears most about McClellin is his natural football instincts.
“He plays with a very low pad level,” Emery said. “He finds the ball quickly, [gets] through blocks, which is a skill in itself. He reads pressure well. He can feel where the ball’s going and he has very natural ability to find the right path to the ball off blocks to make the tackle as quick as possible.”
McClellin’s high football intelligence should help him make an immediate impact as a rookie, something that Emery recently told reporters the team was seeking in its first-round pick.