Since I started following the Chicago Bears regularly at about 12 years old (1999), the Bears have drafted Cade McNown, Brian Urlacher, David Terrell, Marc Colombo, Michael Haynes, Rex Grossman, Tommie Harris, Cedric Benson, Greg Olsen, Chris Williams, Gabe Carimi, and Shea McClellin with their respective first round draft picks each season. Looking at that list, while it's not without it's stellar picks, you can see why Bears fans are always hesitant to throw their full support behind high-end picks. While the Bears are still early on in training camp, the general vibe coming out of camp is primarily twofold: Brandon Marshall is an absolute beast of a player, and Shea McClellin has "looked pretty bad," according to Sports Nation's Ricky O'Donnell.
Training camp is still extremely early on, so we shouldn't be too hard on a rookie defensive end for looking "pretty bad" at this point. However, Bears fans know how important the defensive line is to the Bears' potential success. And while our understanding has to be high for a player in McClellin's shoes, there are still a few concerns that raise an eyebrow even this early in camp.
McClellin is getting overwhelmed by J'Marcus WebbIf McClellin was having his "Welcome to the NFL" moments at the hands of perennial pro bowlers, then I wouldn't bat an eye. But since it's happening at the hands of Webb and Chris Williams, I begin to get worried a bit. It's probably an over reaction on my part, but coming from someone that has seen these offensive linemen get torched for the last few years, and knowing how important it is the Bears get a pass rush, the fact McClellin is having trouble makes me cringe.
McClellin's SizeComing out of the draft, McClellin was seen as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 set. According to O'Donnell, McClellin "looks small." Size is something you would overlook if he were performing. If he isn't performing, his lack of size will be looked at as a major oversight on the part of the scouting staff. As fans, we wonder how he's going to contribute against seasoned offensive linemen if he is getting manhandled by sub par ones.
It's so early in camp that it is probably a little soon to even be worrying about rookie production. McClellin has a lot of time to continue to learn the system and improve his package. It's just that there is so much excitement around the Bears this season that many of us (myself included) will be looking at every little shortcoming and be hoping it doesn't turn into something bigger.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed the NFL throughout.