By Sam Zuba-
HALAS HALL (CBS) All along, Phil Emery had seven players on his short list.
Though he wouldn’t disclose the rest of that list, the new general manager of the Bears insisted defensive end Shea McClellin of Boise State, who the Bears took with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday night, was one of those seven.
“It just says that player was at that spot at that time and he was the highest rated player we had among those seven,” Emery said of his new defensive end. “We felt good moving forward.”
Drafting the 6-3, 260-pound defensive end from Boise State came as a shock, as few mock drafts – if any – had McClellin coming to Chicago.
Still, Emery believes McClellin will act as the perfect complement to perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.
“If we felt like Peppers needed to go inside and Shea needed to go over to the right, that might be a variability,” Emery said.
“This helped fill a need for us as a pass-rusher. We’re very excited about Shea in terms of his all-downs ability. This is an all-downs football players, including special teams. … If there’s one area that stands out for me as an evaluator along with our coaches and our scouts, it’s that we all came away from looking at him as having a high level of football instincts. This is a very natural player. He plays with a very low pad level. He finds the ball quickly.”
McClellin started 38 of 49 games with the Broncos over four seasons. He ran 4.63 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times.
“I think I can (make an impact) as a rookie,” McClellin said. “I think they believe in me and I can get after the quarterback.”
With the first-round pick in the books, the Bears now have six selections to make over the next two days.
“What we did, was with those seven players, we painted seven different scenarios,” Emery said. “What if we get this guy at one? What are we doing with the rest of the draft? Just working through it. So, really, the pick, and who that pick was at that position, determines what path we’re going down from here. This gives us flexibility. There are a couple different ways we can go in the second round and especially the third, fourth and fifth round.”
For live NFL Draft coverage, follow Sam on Twitter @SamZuba