First-rounder McClellin finally dons pads

July, 28, 2012
7/28/12
11:09
PM ET

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- After an entire offseason of non-contact workouts, rookie defensive end Shea McClellin finally got a chance to go through live contact drills with the rest of his teammates for the first time since he was selected by the Bears with the No. 19 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft.

[+] EnlargeShea McClellin
Bradley Leeb/US PresswireShea McClellin will likely be used as a situational pass-rusher early in his career.

All the Bears previous offseason workouts, plus the first two practices of training camp, were conducted without pads before the team went full-go under the lights on Saturday.

"I feel a little tired right now," McClellin said after practice. "I got a lot of reps but I feel good overall. This was just a starting point and now I have to work on getting better every day after this."

Without the benefit of watching the coaches film of the workout, McClellin looked as if he showed a good burst coming off the line of scrimmage during the majority of individual one-on-one passing rushing drills. However, he seemed to struggle on the occasions he found himself directly engaged with the offensive tackle. McClellin, who some project will be used as a situational pass-rusher early in his career, also appeared to have a few difficulties when participating in the more physical inside run drill.

But there is plenty of time for McClellin to refine his game before the Bears open up the regular season in September.

"That's what I want to do is show my speed and I think I did that," McClellin said. "But like I said, this is just a starting point and I have to get better every day from here on out. This is the first day in pads so I pretty much know where I'm at. I just need to keep learning from these older guys and coach [Rod] Marinelli."

McClellin feels he is already somewhat ahead of the curve courtesy of Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, who paid a visit to Marinelli in 2008 when the current Bears defensive coordinator was the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Kwiatkowski took note of some of the drills Marinelli used in Detroit and utilized them at Boise.

"The defensive line coach at Boise State did a great job of teaching me," McClellin said. You know he learned a lot of his stuff from coach Marinelli when he was at Detroit, so a lot of the stuff I'm learning know my coach in college already taught me.'

"[Coach Marinelli wants me to] get of the ball and play fast."

The Bears decided to keep McClellin off special teams in the offseason, so he could work exclusively with Marinelli, but the rookie lined up Saturday night on punt return and kickoff return. Although the Bears project McClellin as a future starting defensive end, he might begin the year playing some on special teams until -- or if -- he passes the likes of veterans Corey Wootton and Chauncey Davis on the defensive depth chart.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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