Some of the negative reaction to the Bears drafting Shea McClellin out of Boise State with the 19th pick included the fact that 3-4 teams like the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots were targeting him. The point was that if hes a fit as a linebacker edge rusher, he must be too smalllight to be one as a defensive end in the Bears scheme.
Heres the thing, though:
As for an impact pass rusher, other than Julius Peppers last season and tying Israel Idonije in 2010, the Bears have not had a sack leader bigger than Adewale Ogunleye (265) since Clyde Simmons (280) in 1999.
And holding the point against the run?
The top four teams against the run in 2011 were all 3-4 teams (the Bears were No. 5). But more to the point is their edge personnel, specifically the leading pass rusher on a top run defense.
No. 1 San Francisco 49ers Ahmad Brooks (259 pounds), Parys Haralorn (255), Aldon Smith (258, 14 sacks as a rookie)
No. 2 Baltimore Ravens Jarret Johnson, Terrell Suggs (14 sacks), both 6-3, 260 pounds.
No. 3 Miami Dolphins Jason Taylor (255), Cameron Wake (6-3, 250, 8.5 sacks).
No. 4 Houston Texans Connor Barwin (264, 11.5 sacks), Brooks Reed (6-3, 260).
The merits of a 3-4 vs. 4-3 scheme arent really relevant since the Bears are and will be a 4-3 team as long as Lovie Smith is a head coach.
But Smith has long been adamant that size is second to speedleverage in an edge player, regardless of scheme. And there was a hint of bristling when McClellins ability to hold up against the run was questioned this weekend.
First off you have to explain that, how a six-three two hundred and sixty pound guy is going to have trouble doing that, Smith said. Weight is one of the most overrated things that there is when you talk about football players. You talk about strength and athletic ability more than that.
Were not a two-gap, hit-guys-right-down-the-middle defense. We dont play that style of ball. Were a get on the edge, maintain your gap defense. A defensive end that is 6-3, 260 pounds can do that easily. So that is no concern at all, Shea will be able to hold his own with the big boys that he is playing with.
Based on what has worked with the other best run defenses in the NFL, and that Israel Idonije wasnt run on at 260 pounds last season, makes the point.