Bronco Beat

Broncos in the NFL: Can Shea McClellin silence critics with Bears?

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) tries to break a tackle by Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin, right, during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis.  The Vikings won 23-20. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) tries to break a tackle by Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin, right, during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 23-20. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) AP

UPDATE:

The media continue to be skeptical of Shea McClellin, who is making the transition to linebacker this season.Here is a story from the Chicago Tribune, in which his coaches say people need to be patient.

Note: Each day during camp, we’ll take a look at one of the former Boise State football players in the NFL. The full list is here.

Former Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin has been criticized in the Chicago media since he was drafted by the Bears in the first round in 2012. That didn’t stop during two years as a defensive end (6.5 sacks).

Now he’s a linebacker — the position many NFL observers thought he should have played from the start. The pressure is still on.

“Another disappointing campaign will push McClellin closer to that ugly territory inhabited by previous first-round Bear busts,” the Chicago Tribune wrote. “(We’re looking at you, Cade McNown, Curtis Enis and Michael Haynes.) But a breakthrough for McClellin working under coordinator Mel Tucker and linebackers coach Reggie Herring this fall? Well, that will allow him to solidify himself as a key cog in a defense that’s in the middle of an energetic revival push.”

McClellin is competing with Jon Bostic for the starting job at strong-side linebacker.

"My first two years weren’t the greatest but I think linebacker is a natural fit for me,” McClellin told CSN Chicago. “I think it’s what I should be doing and I’m very excited about it.”

Former Bears great Brian Urlacher told WSCR 670-AM The Score that he expects McClellin to succeed at linebacker. Urlacher was a safety in college.

"I struggled because I was used to playing in space. Shea is used to dealing with linemen and tight ends because they are always right in front of him," Urlacher said. "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."

McClellin played linebacker at the Senior Bowl in preparation for the 2012 draft. There, he played for former Bears great Mike Singletary. He also liked McClellin’s ability.

“I get excited about what he can become,” Singletary told me at the Senior Bowl.

Email me at ccripe@idahostatesman.com.

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