- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- After going through 10 organized team activities (OTAs), Chicago Bears first-round pick Shea McClellin is convinced he can make the transition from a college linebacker to a full-time NFL defensive end.
The No. 19 overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, McClellin starred in Boise State's 3-4 defense the last few seasons at linebacker but the Bears expect the first-year player to improve the club's outside pass rush.
"I've been hand in the dirt from day one and I loving it," McClellin said Thurday on ESPN 1000's "Carmen, Jurko and Harry Show". "The last couple of years I molded more into the linebacker role but before that I was strictly a defensive end."
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound McClellin tallied 130 tackles, 20.5 sacks and four interceptions over a four-year career with the Broncos. The Bears believe McClellin's combination of speed, strength and athleticism will allow the rookie to contribute early and earn playing time in the team's defensive-end rotation, which currently includes veterans Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Corey Wootton and Chauncey Davis.
"It's been great so far, it's been a relatively smooth transition," McClellin said. "It's been great learning from the veterans on the team and coach (Rod) Marinelli."
As a rookie, McClellin is still in the process of getting the know his new teammates, notably fellow defensive end Peppers and middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, the two anchors of the Bears defense.
"I've only asked (Peppers) one question (so far during OTAs)," McClellin said. "Other than that I haven't talked to him too much. He's more of a guy who leads by example so I watch him and learn from him.'
"I haven't really talked much with any of the veterans. I'm a quiet guy by heart so I just kind of sit back and if they talk to me I'll get into the conversation. But I'm just sitting back and trying to soak it all in."
The Bears will conduct a mandatory three-day veteran minicamp next week from June 12-14 before the team goes on break until they report to training camp on July 25. McClellin plans to return to Boise State and train with his former teammates until he must travel back to the Midwest next month.
But the rookie has also been active in the Chicago community since being selected by the Bears in April. McClellin is involved in a charity shoe donation program in conjunction with the Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Chicago Marathon that is scheduled to be run on Saturday, June 9. All shoes collected around the race event will be donated to Breakthrough, an organization on the west side of Chicago that provides shelter, meals and other services to thousands of homeless men, women and children each year.