Was McClellin first-round worthy?

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Was McClellin first-round worthy?

The word general managerPhil Emery repeatedly used to describe the Bears' first-round pick Shea McClellin was versatility.It's clear they believe that McClellin can provide them with some things they've been lacking and his skills could protect them should a player like Brian urlacher become injured during the course of the season.

McClellin was not one of the many players linked to the Bears, but that truly means nothing since most of the so-called experts are simply making guesses.

There seems to be some frustration amongst fans because of bogus reports they had read through various outlets that claimed McClellin was a third or fifth round value. Those reports are completely inaccurate and can be disproved by the fact the Boise State defensive end was invited to New York for the draft. The only players that get invitations are those that multiple teams have told the league office they view as first-rounders. So the Bears were among at least a handful of teams that saw the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder as a top player in the draft.

McClellin is also like every other player that was drafted or will get drafted. They are all unknowns. Every year there are players that nobody thinks will find success and then become great players and others that everyone believed in and then never live up to expectations.

The Bears filled a position that was a definite need which was the righ thing to do. The pick also allows them to go in almost any direction for the rest of the draft. It's very possible and almost likely there will be some highly rated offensive lineman and receivers still on the board when they pick in the second round.

And remember just because Shea McClellin was not a house hold name doesnt mean he can't be a good player. How many people remember the college careers of Justin Tuck or Robert Mathis? Players will decide how good they are in the NFL when they step on the field.

Bears Talk Podcast: Breaking down camp competition at wide receiver

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Bears Talk Podcast: Breaking down camp competition at wide receiver

On this week’s Bears Talk Podcast, we hear from Markus Wheaton as Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz discuss the training camp competition at slot receiver.

Boden and Stankevitz also weigh in on PFF ranking the Bears’ starting lineup 18th in the NFL, answer listener questions and add another layer of Aaron Rodgers envy.

Listen to the latest Bears Talk Podcast right here:

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

The Bears believe Leonard Floyd will make the leap from being a promising rookie to a breakout second-year player, the kind who can be a centerpiece of a defense as soon as this fall.  

The Bears in 2016 totaled 37 sacks —12th in the NFL — despite dealing with a rash of injuries and not having a standout player in terms of getting to the quarterback. Willie Young led the team with 7 1/2 sacks, which tied him for 31st in the league last year, while Floyd and Akiem Hicks each had seven. 

Sixteen players recorded double-digit sacks last year. That’s not the end-all benchmark for Floyd in 2017, but for a former top-10 pick with elite skills and, as his coaches and teammate said, the right mentality, it’s not out of the question. 

“With most players, you go from your freshman year to sophomore or rookie to second year, … it slows down, they understand it, they're not thinking, they're reacting,” coach John Fox said. “And so I'd expect that and I've seen that already even in the off-season.”

Floyd, earlier this month, talked about how much more comfortable he feels after a full year of practicing and playing at the NFL level. 

“Everything was just fast when I got here last year,” Floyd said. “This year’s it’s way slower and I feel like I’m doing pretty good this year.”

There are two issues with Floyd that won’t go away until he proves they’re not problems in the regular season, though: His weight and his concussions. 

The weight issue is one Floyd has heard for a while, joking with reporters during veteran minicamp that he was surprised it wasn’t the first thing he was asked during his session with the media. He said he “definitely gained some weight” without revealing how much he’s put on, only saying he feels like he’s in much better shape now than he was as a rookie.

“It’s like night and day compared to last year,” Floyd said. 

The concessions are a far more serious — and scary — issue given it took Floyd two months to fully recover from the second concussion he suffered in 2016. 

The Bears believe Floyd’s concussion issues are correctable, though, given they were the product of poor tackling form made worse by collisions with Hicks. The crown of Floyd’s helmet was too low, so he and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio worked with tackling dummies and sled machines in an effort to fix that issue. 

The hope is that Floyd can stay healthy and marry his skills with a better knowledge of the game to put together a breakout year in 2017. His teammates sounded confident during the offseason program that everything was falling into place for the former ninth overall pick. 

“He’s a great competitor,” Hicks said. “Great energy, fast, athletic, he’s everything you want in an outside linebacker, right? Nonstop motor — I can give you all the cliche terms, but I just feel like as far as the defensive line or an outside linebacker, another year under his belt is only going to make him better.”

Added linebacker Jerrell Freeman: “That guy is going to be good for a while.”