Defensive lineman Shea McClellin #92 of the Boise State Broncos makes an interception of a pass by quarterback Pete Thomas #4 of the Colorado State Rams. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Lucky number 7 in this series on pass rushers comes to a player who played in the Mountain West Conference and even took the field a Qualcomm Stadium. I was at that game and saw Boise State DE Shea McClellin in person. I'd love to say that I came away impressed, but really Boise State's play as a team is what impressed me. McClellin probably had a fine game, but I wasn't at the game specifically to scout him (you can feel free to chastise this behavior in the comments). Even though I missed that opportunity, jkvandal didn't miss his. In his post-combine post on the pass rushers he included the Bronco from the blue turf. He ranked at the very bottom among players that were looked at and participated in all the drills when it comes to explosiveness numbers. However, for comparison purposes 2011 draft picks Akeem Ayers, Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Jordan all came in lower the previous year. In the plays/game statistic his 19.5 sacks and 32 TFLs over 49 games was middle of the pack with a resulting number of 1.05. That's a higher number, by the way, than both Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw who we looked at last week.
As I mentioned earlier, the amount of teamwork and unity the Boise State team has is quite incredible and it probably explains a lot of their success. Because of that and the lesser competition they've faced in the Mountain West and the WAC, sometimes it's hard to separate the role players from the standouts. Once scouts started putting in the game tape, McClellin became known as one of the obvious standouts on their stellar defense. Since I didn't have the benefit of these reports during the season, I didn't have a good writeup for him. Now that I do here's what I'd say:
A smart player, but also an excellent athlete with a good blend of height, bulk and speed. His intelligence translates to football intelligence as he's quick to diagnose a play. Especially when that play is in the running game or when he's playing underneath coverage. His lack of experience against high quality opponents make have contributed to why it looks like he can't anchor on tape and sometimes gets pushed around by bigger blockers. However, he has the strength to improve in this area. He's a chaser and a hustler, a good guy to have running around on a broken play or on special teams. He's not a big hitter and he's only a decent tackler who sometimes gets exposed in the open field. His coverage skills and decent pass rush ability make him a useful and versatile 3rd down defender.
At Mocking the Draft they did a full report on him as well:
6'3'', 258 pounds | Outside Linebacker | Boise State
Games Watched: Arizona State, Nevada, New Mexico, Georgia
Coverage: While McClellin's strengths lie in pass rushing, he showed the ability to play solid man-to-man coverage when asked to drop back this season. He is a a natural athlete who closed on the ball very well in pass defense.
Instincts/Recognition: As mentioned above, McClellin has great instincts, both rushing the passer and in the running game. He is patient in the running game and recognizes plays very well. McClellin was a leader for Boise State's defense this season.
Pass Rush: McClellin's pass rushing skills are what could make him a first round pick. He is a high motor player with a solid repertoire of pass rushing moves. Against Georgia, McClellin gave Cordy Glenn some trouble. He has a good burst off the line of scrimmage and shows good lean around the edge when getting after the passer.
Pursuit: McClellin never gives up on a play. Even when he is initially blacked on a play, he keeps ripping and churning his legs toward the play. This makes him a dangerous pass rusher and useful in rush defense.
Run Defense: A sideline to sideline player, McClellin made a lot of plays in the backfield for Boise State this season. He never gives up on the play and extends his arms well to anchor the defensive line. Has a bit of a mean streak to him.
Strength: For his size, McClellin is a strong player. He played inside and out on Boise State's defensive line and was never overmatched. His performance against Georgia's Cordy Glenn, who is considered a strong lineman, was very encouraging.
Final Word: Shane McClellin has a chance to sneak into the first round and makes a lot of sense for a team that plays 3-4 defense. He gets after the passer well and is a safe pick due to his consistently high motor. McClellin was very productive in some of Boise State's biggest games last season, which is a great sign moving forward.
McClellin probably doesn't belong in the same conversation as some of the other pass rushers who would be 1st round prospects, but some would put him in the 1st round conversation. A pick at #18 might be pushing it, but expecting him to slide to #49 might be naive. Perhaps a draft day trade will have him patrolling Qualcomm's grass once again.