Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears mentions that their first-round draft pick Shea McClellin will not playing any linebacker next season, per Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune.
This is obviously suggests that the Bears see McClellin as a defensive end that will compete for the job across from DE Julius Peppers, which was manned by Israel Idonije last season. There’s been some speculation that the Bears could use McClellin at linebacker and possibly have him take over for Brian Urlacher at a later time, but that remains to be seen.
McClellin is a kid with a high motor that should provide them with plenty of versatility, if needed.
Despite revamping their group of wide receivers during the offseason, Bears GM Phil Emery expects Devin Hester to continue to see time at wide receiver.
“Devin’s role has not changed,” Emery said per Briggs, “We want to make sure that we have a special plan for Devin, we have the Devin Package, a package of plays as a receiver. You never know where he is going to line up.“
Even with Emery’s reassurance that Hester will play on offense, it makes it difficult to envision being as a huge contributor in the passing game considering that they’ve traded for Brandon Marshall and drafted Alshon Jeffery in the second-round. Earl Bennett figures to see more playing time as well, so Hester will have to fight for targets next season.
Briggs mentions that head coach Lovie Smith has not had “any direct contact with players,” but he did provided an update regarding LB Brian Urlacher.
“There shouldn’t be any issues.” Smith said, “I know that he hasn’t had any issues through the offseason so he’ll be good to go. We’re not really concerned injury-wise with many of our players right now.“
Urlacher is coming off of a fairly serious injury, so it will be important to have him back a full strength next season, as he’s been very productive for them, even with his increasing age.