In the days leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify players who project as solid fits for the Patriots:
Player: Shea McClellin
School: Boise State
Position: Outside linebacker/defensive end
Listed height/weight: 6-foot-3, 260 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: 2nd
Draft projection: Second round
Why he’s on our list: After losing edge rusher Mark Anderson in free agency, and with Andre Carter still recovering from surgery for a torn quad and also a free agency, the Patriots have some questions at defensive end in the four-man front, and a need for more help at 3-4 outside linebacker. McClellin, who has modeled himself after former Patriot Mike Vrabel, has a lot of good things going for him on and off the field (e.g. smart, versatile, high character, size, pass-rush skills).
Recommended link: Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman writes an in-depth piece on McClellin as a hometown hero, detailing McClellin’s background in the game and his upbringing (link here).
Key stat: Totaled 16.5 sacks over his final two seasons.
Workout stat: His 19 reps on the bench press raised some questions about strength.
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: "As versatile as LSU DL Michael Brockers is, McClellin is even more of a Swiss army knife and Boise State took advantage by using him in a number of different ways. At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, he’s athletic enough to line up at outside or inside linebacker in a 3-4, strong side linebacker in a 4-3 or defensive end in a 4-3 at the NFL level. His greatest strength is rushing the passer. He’s at his best getting under offensive linemen and rocking them back on their heels but it’s not the only thing he does well. While he doesn’t show the ability to shave the edge like a Dwight Freeney, he still flashes the ability to turn the corner thanks to his explosive first step and he closes well when he gets a clear path to the quarterback. He also uses his active hands and quick feet to set up offensive linemen with a variety of moves. He needs to work on his ability to stack and shed as a run blocker but he’s tough, he’s strong for his size, and he’s got enough upper body strength to improve his ability to get off blocks. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding McClellin following a strong workout at the Combine and he’s entered the early second round conversation so it wouldn’t be too much of a reach for New England to take him late in the first."