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NFL Draft Spotlight 2012: Boise State OLB Shea McClellin

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NFL Draft Spotlight 2012: Boise State OLB Shea McClellin

As promised, we have another spotlight, though this one is without my own video.

There are plenty of great highlights to go with this column anyway, so check them out.

Today's prospect spotlight focuses on a linebacker who is rocketing up draft boards as we approach next week's NFL Draft—Boise State linebacker Shea McClellin.

The Good

McClellin is a big, well-built, prospect who shows an explosive first step, whether playing with his hand in the dirt or while standing up. He played at a ton of different spots for Boise—both standing up and with his hand down, coming from the outside or blitzing inside.

He has the speed to threaten off the edge from the outside, and coupled with his explosive first step and instinctive timing of the snap count, he could be a terror on the attack.

McClellin's got multiple tools in his pass rush arsenal as well and knows how to press a quarterback from multiple spots in multiple ways. He is also savvy in how he sets up pre-snap—quarterbacks often have issues reading what he will do.

Boise had him drop into coverage as well and I thought he did very well in man coverage.

Against the run, McClellin moves well for a guy his size and can violently shed blocks to get to the ballcarrier, though often he tries to move around a block which can be an issue (see below).

Generally though, he's able to get clean and continue pursuit.

In both instances where he played against the pass and the run, I saw him constantly moving and was really impressed with his motor. He never gives up on a play and goes snap to whistle at full effort.

The Bad

He can get a bit upright at times, which costs him leverage and in those instances I saw him have to fight much harder to get off the blocks he faced. His balance and strength often helped him overcome it at the collegiate level but that probably won't fly in the pros.

I mentioned seeing him try to go around blocks and when he does, he sometimes gets moved out of the play completely, spending more time avoiding the block than getting to the ball or quarterback.

At times he seemed a bit stiff, and isn't terribly flexible but he overcomes this with excellent technique. He can get his pad level very low and sinks his hips to get around the corner with the best of them.

The Lowdown

There's very little to dislike with McClellin. He has a tremendous motor, can get to the quarterback and is ferocious against both the run and pass.

If you stop him one way, he will find another way to beat you on the next snap and if you stifle him for a series, he comes back the next series with twice as much intensity.

I think the Packers would be tremendously happy with this guy in the first round and there is no way he's there by the time they pick in round two. He's everything I believe they want in an OLB—fast, savage, smart, relentless—and across from Clay Matthews he would be a beast.

I love him and he's gone from someone you could sneak in round 3 to someone you have to grab ASAP in the late first.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

pooch's picture

Lets do it the beastie boys one on each side

pkrNboro's picture

how about an Alien on each side?

ejectile teeth...

they'd certainly demand a double-team, then it'd be 9 on 7. I like those odds...

BubbaOne's picture

I was originally hoping TT could trade down and still get him. Now I think if he's TT's guy (count me in) he'll have to take him at 28.

"Clay, Shea, and B.J. make hay on Sunday."

cow42's picture

shea mcclellin.

Bearmeat's picture

Completely agreed Cow. TT: Trade back 4 spots. Pick up Shea, a DL, and S in the first 2 rounds!

*This is my Packer fandom dreaming here - no need to pass judgement*

Mike's picture

Don't know about all those being covered in the 1st two rounds but who knows - we've seen some GMs make STUPID trades because somebody slips. Hopefully TT will find said GM & get some extra 2nd or 3rd picks. I really like this kid - a lot better than Brooks Reed last year...and look at how that one turned out...

pkrNboro's picture

Do they call him "Shea, the fence-builder?"

...but ya milk one goat...

PackersRS's picture

Solid take, Andrew.

The thing that McClellin lacks is elite athleticism. He should've had multiple sack seasons playing against inferior competition, but didn't. That's also a concern.

But, from what I've seen, he has enough athleticism to be an effective #2 pass rusher. His play recognition is really good, wastes little motion, his motor is always running, isn't a freelancer, has a variety of pass rush moves, has enough speed to beat tackles off the edge, enough agility to cover, even man to man, enough strenght to hold the point of attack.

And what I, and probably Capers, like the most of this kid is his ability to recognize gaps and shoot through them. Kinda like the exact opposite of AJ Hawk.

He'll never beat double teams constantly, but he won't have to. IMO if the Packers choose him in the 28th, it's a terrific pick.

packsmack25's picture

Exactly my take, but I disagree on spending a first rounder on him. In the first, I think you need to find elite athletes or at the very least athletes with elite size. I wouldn't mind trading out of the first and grabbing him in the early second though.

CSS's picture

Like him overall, but sometimes I get concerned that he's a Paul Kruger clone (drafted by the Ravens out of Utah in Round 2). I'm not being lazy in the comparison because they're both white and from smaller schools. They tested almost identical, and both showed well rounded play in college but sometimes disappeared against lesser opponents they should have destroyed.

It's the concern that McClellin, like Kruger, falls under the what you see is what you get category from his final year of college to the pros.

I trust TT and his scouts, but Reyes/Wolfe body types with upside are more of a rarity than McClellin's body type and upside.

I would love to see the #25-32 draft slots on the Steelers, Packers and Ravens draft boards.

Jeremy's picture

His game against TCU was pretty good too.

- forced a fumble for a loss of 22
- nice job forcing an rb out of bounds on a hitch route.
- several qb pressures.

Nononsense's picture

Theres not much to dislike about McClellin and maybe thats why hes shooting up draft boards, very little bust factor with this guy. There are some that think he would be a reach at 28 but im not one of them.

I have a list of 5 players Id really like to see drafted in the first round this year all pass rushers and Shea is on the list.

aussiepacker's picture

So who is the other 4?

packsmack25's picture

Negatives: Concussion-prone. No thanks in the first.

PackersRS's picture

Is that a real thing? He did have multiple concussions, but is there such thing as concussion-prone, or was it just bad luck? Or perhaps the way he tackles?

packsmack25's picture

Ask Sidney Crosby if it's a real thing. I'd just rather not use a first round pick to find out!

PackersRS's picture

Garda, I've been lurking at your new gig at BR for quite a while (not going to comment in there, sorry).

You're doing a great job, but your latest post... Ranking the packers DBs 3rd in the division, behind the Lions and Bears?

Sorry, that's just hilarious. If you weren't going for humor, then I kinda lost a little bit of respect for you. Even Peprah would start in the Lions/Bears/Vikings' secondary. 3rd year the Packers' secondary is top 3 in interceptions.

Andrew Garda's picture

Sorry that's the case then - my biggest issue, as I said in the piece, is the uncertain situation of multiple players. If you shift Woodson and replace him, you're draining talent. The guys behind him are just not sat his level. If you leave him, you STILL need to replace Collins and again, the talent drops at the position.

It's all very close at the top three and the right pick, or Collins return to full health, could make GB the top dog.

But as of right now, it's very unsettled and I don't like it, not after last year's poor defensive showing. If the Dline doesn't improve it's pass rush, do you want a new safety in Woodson learning the position and getting used to it and a new corner? I don't.

PackersRS's picture

Why are you letting the overall performance of the defense, more specifically the deficiency of the DL, influence how you grade the defensive backs? Wasn't it supposed to be about judging just the secondary?

I understand (but disagree) if you say that Gb's pass defense is worse than Detroit's or Chicago's. But, from what I gather, that's not what's in question.

That's why I can't understand how someone can say that the combination of Chris Houston, Jacob Lacey, Aaron Berry, Alphonso Smith, Louis Delmas, Amary Spievy and co are better than the Packers DBs.

Other than Delmas, none of them would play ahead of what the Packers have, and it goes the same for the Bears, except for Tillman, but Tillman needs to play in a cover 2 scheme to excel. And if Collins is cleared to play, then it's not even in question.

Not when the Packers secondary has been the best in the entire league in inteceptions since 09.

I get your point, but it's not a point. Woodson to safety is not a possibility, not this season. There's one position open, it's the safety across Burnett (Capers doesn't use SS and FS).

So the Packers have a better #1 (Tramon Williams) than everybody in the NFC North. A better #2 (Woodson). A better #3 (Shields). A better S than everybody but Delmas (Burnett). Even Peprah is better than Stelz and Spievy (not by much). But they're the 3rd best secondary because of their DL play?

Andrew Garda's picture

The secondary had it's own issues - it's not just about pressure. Williams had a pretty rough year by himself and Woodson was a bit up and down.

And there's no chance Woodson goes to safety this year? even though it's been widely discussed and reported? No chance AT ALL?

Come on man. I get you don't like to think they might be slipping.

And stop focusing on the DL. Where do I even mention it was the DL? I said it's a bigger problem IF the DL doesn't improve. I didn't say it was all about the DL. That's your hangup.

It's like you're trying to smokescreen the situation with something totally unsaid with tons of assumptions.

I know you guys don't like to think teams are better than you but sometimes they might be. Your secondary has question marks. get over it.

PackersRS's picture

When you condition the rankings of the secondary to the DL play, it's not just about the secondary. Then IMO it's wrong.

No chance at all that Woodson is moved permanently. It has only been discussed by the media and the fans. The same discussion that happened last year, the year prior... Woodson plays safety in some packages already, but Capers knows he is at his best at the LOS. When playing nickel, which is most of the time, Woodson will be the nickel corner. Not the safety.

They did play poorly in some stretches last year. But I take you know that Tramon Williams was injuried for most of the season. And that they still led the league in secondary and overall team interceptions.

As for question marks, there aren't. Tramon Williams is the #1. Woodson the #2, and the nickel in nickel. Shields the #3. Bush the #4. Burnett is one safety. Peprah is the other. If Collins comes back, he takes Peprah's place.

And you're not arguing with Packers fans. You're arguing with me. Making general points about how you think Packers fans see their team only weakens your points...

BOOOOM! I can make onomatopoeia as well.

Andrew Garda's picture



FITZCORE1252's picture

Andrew, who do you think the scouts like(d) better: McClellin this year or Reed from last year?

Seems to me I remember reading about Brooks that most viewed him as a 2nd round guy, and for quite awhile, Shea was the same (now possibly late 1st).

Just curious, do you have any idea who was thought of as the better player?


Andrew Garda's picture

I'm not 100% sure - I like McClellin more now. I'm not to osure who the overall consensus is. I'll see if I can find out!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Thanks A.G.

mark's picture

I'm a fan of the Shea McClellin pick, and I would also be very cool with Jerel Worthy.

But I'm going to keep banging the drum for Janoris Jenkins. I think if Jenkins is on the board (I don't think he will be) the Packers can't pass on that kind of talent. He's only 1 inch shorter than Tramon and Shields, but he's a leaper, and he's a game changer. Possibly the best CB in the draft. They guy shut down AJ Green and Julio Jones. And the more I've looked into his major "character concerns" the more I think they're bunk, or at least in the past. He went to UNA with a zero tolerance policy, and by all accounts was a great teammate, player, father and citizen. He did community service, never tested positive for pot, and worked hard. I think it was a wake up call for him.

Football-wise, check this out:

Ideally, I would like to see Ted do what he did in the Raji draft: find a way to get two difference makers on defense. Two guys who can contribute in year 1.

CSS's picture

He's a talented kid, but I would quibble with the whole, 'shut down Green and Jones' thing. First and foremost, the quarterback play at Georgia is so, so bad you can barely watch it. The kid couldn't drive the ball 10 yards with velocity making green walk off his routes. Hardly shut-down coverage when a receiver has to run half-speed because he's playing with a division II QB.

And take a look at Jones. I think he dropped (no shock, dropped in college and now the pros) the only two long attempts that came his direction. Outside of that, the QB play at Alabama was so average they were throwing all attempts to Jones at or behind the line of scrimmage. That's pathetic for an athletic freak that runs a 4.3 40.

PackersRS's picture

I'm willing to bet money Janoris Jenkins is not on the Packers' board.

Read here about his off-field issues, and what personnel executives across the league think of him:

To sum it up:

- Four children with 3 women.
- Positive drug tests at Florida, and admitted drug use at North Alabama
- Three arrests

I think it's safe to say CHUH CHUH!

mark's picture

Right, the Breer article, which I think is a load of bullshit.

The headline talks about "continued problems" but if you look closely, Breer provides ZERO evidence of any problems beyond comments from unnamed NFL "personnel executives"--and if you choose to believe any personnel executive 10 days before the draft, well, more power to you.

PackersRS, try reading these two articles:

1) This one from Aaron Wilson, gets comment from Jenkins' coach:

2) This one goes more in depth on his arrests, which don't seem that bad, considering:

In summary, Jenkins could have gone to the supplemental draft last year. Instead he went to a D-2 school and did community service. He never tested positive for pot, he fathered no children, and he had no trouble with the law. And by all accounts he worked hard and was a great teammate. He speaks candidly about learning from the experience at Florida, and wanting to be a good Father and person.

Again, this could be the best, most talented CB in the draft. If we could get him at 28 it would be a coup.

Irish Cheesehead's picture

Don't like Worthy. Watched him play over here in Michigan and he takes plays off. Lazy big guy with loads of potential. I'd rather have a football player with a motor that doesn't quit.

Andrew Garda's picture


"BOOOOM! I can make onomatopoeia as well."

NOOOO! onomatopoeia - my one weakness. Along with logic. OK, my second weakness.... unless you include Chocolate... DANGIT.

PackersRS's picture

Damn. Who tipped you on my last move?

Cole's picture

I don't know about McClellin, to me he isn't special. I watch Chandler Jones out of Syracuse and see elite potential. I'm in no way qualified to evaluate leverage, pass rush moves and what not, not to mention whether Jones is only a DE and not capable of being a OLB, but if he is, he seems like much more of a freakish talent like CM3. And if you're going to take someone with injury history already, might as well take one that isn't one major concussion away from being put out of the league.

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"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
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