Bears' Shea McClellin has a believer in Brian Urlacher

Bears' Shea McClellin has a believer in Brian Urlacher
July 22, 2014, 8:45 pm
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Scott Krinch

Bears general manager Phil Emery overhauled one of the league's worst defenses this offseason.

The likes of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Kyle Fuller and Ryan Mundy were brought in to improve a Bears defense that ranked 30th in total yards allowed.

But one move that could make the biggest impact next season could come in the form of a returning member from last year's dismal defensive unit.

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Just two years removed from being a first-round draft pick, Shea McClellin is making the switch from defensive end to linebacker. McClellin struggled immensely throughout his first two years in the NFL, registering just 6.5 sacks and 21 tackles in 10 starts.

McClellin, who's career in Chicago looked to be in jeopardy, is looking at the positional switch as a blessing.

"I was excited for sure, anticipated that they would, too," McClellin said. "My first two years weren’t the greatest but I think linebacker is a natural fit for me. I think it’s what I should be doing and I’m very excited about it.”

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After shredding 11 pounds this offseason, McClellin will compete for the starting strongside linebacker spot along with Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene and Christian Jones.

McClellin goes from being an undersized defensive end to a big linebacker. And after spending most of his career with his hand on the ground, he will be in a stand-up position where the coaching staff will ask him to blitz more.

One of the greatest Bears linebackers of all-time, Brian Urlacher, doesn't foresee the transition being difficult for McClellin.

"I struggled because I was used to playing in space. Shea is used to dealing with lineman and tight ends because they are always right in front of him," Urlacher told WSCR 670-AM The Score on Tuesday morning. "I wasn't used to that. Shea is a great athlete. I think he's going to do great at SAM linebacker over the tight end because he is so athletic and he's used to using his hands and getting on people. He will be fine in that aspect. Like I said, he can run and can do all of the things you want your SAM to do."