Packer Update

McClellin Would Be A Reach At 28

First round might be too high for former Boise State star

Forget Everybody Loves Raymond, the big show among Packers fans is Everybody Loves Shea. I’m talking, of course, about Shea McClellin, the outside linebacker from Boise State who is flying up draft boards and into the No. 28 slot in mock drafts everywhere. I admit to knowing very little about this player a month ago. I watched a few Broncos games last season, and while I do remember hearing his name mentioned, he never stood out. Fearing that perhaps I wasn’t paying close enough attention, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So over the past few weeks I’ve taken a much closer look at the young man who is stealing the hearts of draftniks everywhere.

Let me first say that I now fully understand why so many Packers fans – not to mention members of the local media – are falling in love with McClellin. On first glance, he looks just like a freshly coiffed Clay Matthews. Not only are both men white – a relative rarity for the position – but they share a similar build and passion for the game. Like the three-time Pro Bowler, McClellin is a relentless and tenacious worker. He simply won’t give up on a play. And while he’s not nearly as athletic as CMIII, he appears to have above-average movement skills. He’s relatively light on his feet and displays fine body control. All in all, I was pretty impressed by what I saw. Just not impressed enough to join the Everybody Loves Shea fan club.

While McClellin put up solid numbers in college, he didn’t dominate against subpar competition. I saw him taken out of plays by too many offensive linemen who’ll be wearing suits and ties at their next jobs. The 22-year-old needs to get stronger. He lacks lower body strength and explosion. He also catches too much contact – often trying to run around blocks or pull and jerk to disengage. And while spending time in the weight room and with outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene would obviously make a difference, I’m just not convinced that McClellin has the physical skills needed to be an upper-echelon starter in the NFL. And that’s what every GM wants from his first-round pick.

Would taking McClellin at 28 be a mistake? Not really, but in a draft that is deep in defensive linemen and outside linebackers, I just think there will be better options available at the end of round one. More importantly, there will be outside linebackers available in the second round who could be every bit as good – if not better – than McClellin. West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, Utah State’s Bobby Wagner, Marshall’s Vinny Curry and Oklahoma’s Ronnell Lewis all have the potential to be quality starters in the National Football League, and none of those four players is going to hear his name called by Commissioner Roger Goodell. They’ll have to wait until day two to find out which cities they’ll soon be calling home. The feeling here is that McClellin should have to wait just as long to find out his destiny.

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22 Comments to "McClellin Would Be A Reach At 28"

  1. TerdellMiddleton says:

    This article and your article predicting our first-round choice are why I read this site. Good independent thinking, backed by watching games for yourself, and solid logic. Not just a restatement of the opinions of others. I have no idea if you’ll be right or not, but thanks, Michael. Good stuff to think about as we wait for the clock to tick through to draft night.

  2. JoeMadison says:

    I am one of those fans that was excited about the idea of MClellen. What I really liked the most about him was his ability to do all of the things that are required of an OLB – it opens up the play book for Capers. When I’ve watched the other 1st rnd OLB prospects, particularly Nick Perry, they seem to me like a liability in space – aka Aaron Kampman.

    My question is how important is being a complete OLB in the Packers system? How complete are the 2nd round guys (Curry, Irvin, Lewis)?

    BTW, this is why I agree with your last article about Still. IMO the DL will be the best value at #28.

  3. BubbaOne says:

    Michael, “…better options available at the end of round one.” Who?

    I’m a Shea McClellin fan. Capers’ scheme needs complete OLB’s and McClellin fits the bill (he’s not great at anything but very good at everything). Plus, he’ll excel once he can concentrate on one position..he has played OLB, ILB, and DE. He may not be a star but I’ll be happy if he and Clay can give me 18+ sacks annually for the next half dozen years. All the other tweeners projected for bottom of round one/top of round 2 have flaws.

    If TT could trade down and still take him I’m all for it but I don’t think he’ll last long for not only being the most complete OLB but also some 4-3 teams are apparently interested in him as well.

    Re Irvin; one trick pony as a 3rd down pass rusher. Wouldn’t take him before round 3 b/c of his limitations. Ronnell Lewis; if TT can answer the off field academic questions then yes, he could work. Curry to me is a DE. Not sure Wagner has the instincts to excel at OLB.

    • Michael Rodney says:

      I’d take Still and Worthy over McClellin. I just think they’re better players. If they’re both gone, I’d be tempted to take one of the Wisconsin offensive linemen. The more I see Zeitler, the more I like him.

      • BubbaOne says:

        Agree on Zeitler. A UW player said TT was at a lot of practices this year. Z could be a very good OG and his versatility to play OC would be a plus. Packer Report’s Bill Huber raised a few eyebrows by taking Z at 28 in a recent mock.

        The Q re Still is he plays when he wants and maybe doesn’t love the game. Worthy is too inconsistent. Talented, yes on both but for these reasons I wouldn’t take either at 28.

  4. Dewey Cooke says:

    Michael, I have been saying the same thing for months- good player but a reach at 28!

    • BubbaOne says:

      Up until a couple of weeks ago I would have agreed w/ you but he seems to be rising up boards. We’ll see in 10 days if it’s true.

  5. Archie says:

    Like I said before, look at the Senior Bowl and you won’t see much productivity. In my book, he’s a late 3rd round pick.

  6. ATETG says:

    Me? I’m a Shea Fan!! He has what the Packers need. Is he good enough for first round? Someone must think so, I just hope it is the Packers!!

  7. Yoop says:

    The question is what is better, the #8 DT or the #4 OLB. McCellin is ranked right where he should be overall. When you compare him to CMIII in testing the numbers are almost identical, except for ten yard time. Matthew put up four more reps at at 225#.
    McCellin is the ONLY OLB prospect that can do and has done everything the Psckers ask of there OLB’s in this draft. And really and then some, with playing inside too and ILB.

    McCellin a reach at at #28 no way! When you watch games and highlights of both McCellin and Matthews in college you see the same things. The same type of abilities.
    And Matthews was not even a starter until into his Senior year.

    No none of the 3-4 DE’s available are have more value at #28 the McCellin. After MCCellin the OLB’s drop off like a old scab. But you can get a Still or a Worthy type 3-4 DE later more then you can get a good complete OLB.

    • Michael Rodney says:

      IMO, Matthews was a much better prospect coming out of college. He was a more fluid and explosive athlete. I came away very, very impressed by CMIII. I didn’t feel that way after watching McClellin. But hey, this is just one man’s opinion.

  8. Mikey says:

    I think at this point its impossible to tell if he is a reach at #28 or not. I think that kind of evaluation can only be determined on draft day and how the board looks. If there is a flood on OLB and DE then this may be a good pick but if some of the better OLB’s and DE’s fall (which i think they will) then i think he loses a lot of value.

    In my very basic and limited look at him i feel he is a early to mid 2nd round pick. I wouldn’t be crushed if we took him at #28 but not totally thrilled but again all based on who is left on the board

  9. Steve W. says:

    i like shae mclleclin and i think he’ll be our pick if he is there cus he seems like a ted thompson packer person, but… i watched some highlights of Bruce Irvin…man…that guy seems like he’s shot out of a cannon… what do u think of him michael?

    • Michael Rodney says:

      I wrote about Irvin in the mock draft story from a few days ago. He’s a one-trick pony right now, but it’s an impressive trick.

  10. Tangysizzl says:

    I would be happy to have Shea McClellin if hes the pick at 28, hes not my first choice there but he is on my list of players I would take at 28 if available. I don’t care if hes considered a reach there or not, I just care that he fits the defense and adds to a position that sorely needs talent.

    Its good policy to avoid reaching for needs especially in the first round but when the GM pretty much ignores FA and has ignored the glaring hole at ROLB for 3 straight seasons spending only one 7th round pick (Jones) A street FA (Walden) and a handful of undrafted FAs (Zombo,So’oto,Lattimore) you gotta take a risk some time and add a legitmate player to the postion.

    If this was a 8-8 team then I would be a lot less inclined to reach for a certain position but this is a legitimate SB contender and the time to fill that gaping hole in the roster is now. OLB or DE I don’t care but we really need pass rushers now.

  11. Lars says:

    Curry doesn’t have the speed to play 3/4 OLB in the pros. Most of those DLinemen you speak of are going to bust as they do every year. Check McClellin’s measurables (speed esp.) his college production every year, and his versatility—he’s played standing up inside and outside at LB, can play the run/set the edge (can Mercilus do that?) and cover TE’s in pass coverage.

    This whole concept of “reach” is based on false premises anyway: Some so-called experts (that we all review) say he’s a reach (while a college nothing like Dontari Poe isn’t??) and therefore it’s fact?

    That said, it’s unlikely he becomes a Packer due to the vagaries of the draft.

  12. Michael Rodney says:

    There’s obviously no guarantee I’ll be right on McClellin, but at least my opinion is based on watching him play entire games. I have to wonder how many fans who love McClellin can say the same thing.

    • BubbaOne says:

      You got me there. I don’t watch film or have seen any of his games. I was making an educated guess on everything I read including the fact he’s played ILB, OLB, and DE. But here’s the kicker…it may all be moot.

      I just read he had multiple concussions. W/ all the attention re concussions and playing a hitting position like OLB does Dr Pat and TT red flag him or at least downgrade him to the point he’s taken by another team?

  13. Tangysizzl says:

    I did watch 3 Boise games last season, my friend is a big college football guy and has a DVR full of various games. Im not a big fan of college ball but I am a Wisconsin fan so I always watch them during the season.

    I do go to his house and we sit and break down the games focusing on players who might be targets for the Packers. I also like Tyrone Crawford and Billy Winn, those 2 guys stood out along with Shea.

    Got to see Boise vs Georgia UNLV and the Bowl Game against Arizona State. Also seen him at the Senior Bowl so I think I have a pretty good feel for Mr McClellin. I see a very capable player that will be a perfect fit in GB.

  14. Archie says:

    GB passes on Mercilus to tab McClellin:

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