Bears: ’13 draft, Shea McClellin switch create LB 'future'

Bears: ’13 draft, Shea McClellin switch create LB 'future'
May 5, 2014, 9:45 am
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Bears pre-draft situation

Lance Briggs has another year on his contract and the Bears invested heavily in young linebackers over the past year: Jonathan Bostic in the 2013 second round, Khaseem Greene in the fourth and Shea McClellin in the 2012 first, now that he has been shifted to SLB going into the offseason. Re-signing D.J. Williams locks in the starter at MLB, assuming he can stay healthy, which is a big assumption with Williams missing 22 games over the past three seasons, 19 over the past two.

[MORE: Talent-rich WR class could be Bears’ best friend]

The anticipated diversifying of the defense creates needs for linebackers to be creative as well. How Bostic and McClellin are employed will be one of the key storylines through the preseason and into the year as coordinator Mel Tucker works on taking advantage of a very fast group, but one without a lot of LB experience beyond Briggs and Williams.

Bears Draft priority: Low

Teams get into trouble when they are forced to keep drafting to fill the same position or positions sooner than a normal cycle, and the Bears are in that situation at linebacker. They are not going to a 3-4 scheme other than in unique situations that will work with what their ends and linebackers can do.

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As they did with Greene, the Bears could fortify this area with selections after the first two and provide developmental talent while beefing up special teams.

Keep an eye on…

Anthony Barr, UCLA: High-impact player more suited to 3-4, but Bears had in for visit.

Preston Brown, Louisville: Played for Cardinals while Bears coach Clint Hurtt was on staff there.

Michael Sam, Missouri: A rush linebacker suited for 3-4’s, but you take edge rushers where you find them.