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.