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Prospect focus: Boise State's Shea McClellin

Breaking down the play of the Broncos defensive lineman. Greg Gabriel

Print This April 22, 2012, 11:40 AM EST

Until the last few weeks, Shea McClellin had been ignored by the draftniks. What the draftniks didn’t know is McClellin has been high on most team’s draft boards since the middle of last season. The so-called “experts” were looking at him as a mid-round pick when the truth is it will be a surprise if he doesn’t get drafted in the first round.

McClellin was a 2-star recruit in 2007. He redshirted his first year then played as a backup in 2008. He has been a starter at DE/OLB the last 3 years. This year he finished the season with 50 total tackles and 7 sacks and finished his career with 20.5 sacks.

McClellin was clearly the dominant player on Boise State’s defense. He lined up all over. He played on his feet as a 3-4 outside linebacker, down as a 4-3 defensive end (both right and left sides) and even some inside linebacker. He has good size at 6033 and 260 with 4.66 speed. While he didn’t show top strength at the combine with 19 reps he plays strong and can be explosive. When playing down, he gets off the ball very quickly. He has good hand use and does a very good job keeping blockers off his body. He moves very quickly laterally and easily clears piles. He has top instincts and is very quick to find the ball. He can be disruptive versus the run and is a very good pass rusher. He has the quick first step to get by his opponent and can dip his shoulder and get under blockers. He also does a good job with counter moves. He is an excellent pursuit player and it is not unusual to see him run a play down from the backside. He is a very good tackler. I don’t think I saw a missed tackle in four games viewed. When playing on his feet he shows equal pass rush skills. He also is used some in coverage usually dropping into the short flat zones. He shows good awareness in coverage and can plant and drive on the receiver once the ball is thrown. On tape you only see him in zone coverage so I was unable to grade man cover skills.

Overall, McClellin can be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 or a defensive end in some 4-3 schemes. Some of the 4-3 schemes where he fits are Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and Minnesota. I have heard some compare McClellin to Green Bay’s Clay Matthews. I don’t see that. Matthews is more explosive with a bit more speed and quickness. Still they have similar type games. Look for McClellin to be drafted in bottom third of the first round come Thursday night. He easily has the ability to be a solid starter as a rookie.

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