Bears think Shea McClellin's best fit is at inside linebacker

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The next stop for 2012 first-round pick Shea McClellin is at inside linebacker in the team’s new 3-4 defense.

“When he came out of college, he was a versatile guy and played a lot of different positions,” Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Saturday. “Maybe now it’s time to lock him down to an inside linebacker spot. If it doesn’t work out, maybe we move him back outside, but I want to see him at inside linebacker for a while.”

Fangio highlighted McClellin, along with cornerback Kyle Fuller, linebacker Christian Jones and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, as returning players he thinks can fit in the new defense.

McClellin bounced around from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Bears’ old 4-3 scheme; never finding a permanent home despite being the 19th overall section of the 2012 NFL draft. He started 10 games last year at strongside linebacker, where he set career-highs in tackles (84) and tackles for loss (4.5), but made few impact plays for one of the league’s worst defenses.

Getting sacks has been a struggle for McClellin. Originally drafted to be a pass-rusher, McClellin only has 7.5 sacks in 40 career games.

Fangio, however, believes that McClellin can be an effective blitzer from inside linebacker.

“Well, he’s got good size and good athletic ability,” Fangio said. “He has been hindered, I think, by being moved around – to no fault of anybody; that’s just the way it goes. I think he has a chance to be a good inside linebacker. We’re going to give him a full opportunity here and a full chance to learn the position so we can evaluate him and see if that’s a good spot for him.”