LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- On paper, Shea McClellin's numbers in his final year at Boise State come up short when compared to a few of the other first-round pass rushers, especially Whitney Mercilus, who went seven picks later to the Houston Texans at No. 26.
But McClellin, the Chicago Bears' first-round pick, has a logical explanation as to why he registered seven sacks and 12½ tackles for a loss, as opposed to Mercilus who had 16 sacks and 22 TFLs in 2011 for Illinois.
"I guess I didn't have the stats compared to the other guys, but if you look at my stats you know I averaged, what, 35 plays a game compared to other guys getting 60, 70," McClellin said on Friday. "And they're rushing the passer every down, I was in coverage, I was doing all kinds of things, so it's hard to compare and that kind of thing. I really think I can be effective, hand in the dirt, standing up, whatever the team wants me to play, needs me to play."
The Bears made it clear that initially McClellin will be asked to play with his hand on the ground, as a pass-rushing left defensive end. That prospect is appealing to McClellin, who feels he can be effective weighing anywhere between 250 and 270 pounds.
"I think it's great," McClellin said. "I think I fit well. I consider myself a rush end and that's what they want me to do. So I'm going to get after the quarterback and I'm going to love it. It's going to be great."
Questions have been raised over the Bears selecting a player in the first round that many viewed as a better fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. McClellin, who compared himself to Mike Vrabel, Brooks Reed and Jared Allen, was used almost exclusively at strong side linebacker during the Senior Bowl, which according to Bears general manager Phil Emery, helped conceal McClellin's pass-rushing ability from other clubs that might have been in a position to grab him before No. 19.
"To all those doubters, I'm going to have to go out there and prove myself and I'm used to that," McClellin said. "I came from Boise State where we had to prove ourselves every week so I'm used to that and that's what I'm going to have to do every day.
"It definitely puts a chip on my shoulder. Like I said, I'm used to it so I'm just going to go out there and compete every day, work hard to get better and just go out there and do the best that I can."