BY KEVIN POWELL
Photo: AP Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sacked by Chicago Bears’ Shea McClellin (99) and Isaiah Frey (31) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
I love it when I think I have found a future dynasty stud before the fellow general managers in my leagues. This week I am very excited to think I may have found such a player at defensive end. He is available in almost any format and league size, including 32 team leagues. (I don’t like to spend high rookie draft picks on defense, because of the belief that if you research enough, you can build defense by solid trading or free agent acquisition.)
Shea McClellin is the name to know.
No, I am not under medication, and no, I am not writing this at the local watering hole. I am of sound mind (ok, that can be debated), but those who pick up Shea will thank me later this season.
I realize that during Shea McClellin’s first two seasons with the Bears, he had only 45 tackles and seven sacks, not exactly numbers that inspire confidence in a defensive end. But, this year will be much different, not only in playing time, but also where he plays in the Bear defense. Chicago has him penciled in as their starting strong-side linebacker this season. In dynasty football, a move to linebacker is a great boost in his value. He is still considered a defensive end for fantasy purposes, and will get the added value playing linebacker. In some packages, he still may play defensive end, so he could qualify at both positions for years.
Shea is still only 24 years old, and he has worked extremely hard this off-season to re-sculpt his body for the rigors of being a three down linebacker. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports that McClellin has gone from 263 pounds at the end of 2013 to 252 pounds. His body fat has gone from 18% to 10%. His 40 time has gone from 4.74 to 4.50, an incredible transformation in such a short time. He has worked out the past three months with noted trainer Scot Prohaska, who has worked magic with athletes in all sports. He taught Shea the proper way to train, eat, and even work his mental approach. It seemed pretty obvious that McClellin needed to rebuild his confidence after two lackluster seasons to launch his career.
If you had the opportunity to draft a 6’3″, 252 pound, solidly built defensive end/linebacker who could run a 4.50 forty, you would jump at the chance. So, if your team is in need of a defensive end, take my advice: Get Shea McClellin on your roster as quickly as you can. Your friends may wonder what you are thinking, but by Labor Day, the secret will be out.