As we continue to preview each position in the draft, we shift our focus to outside linebackers. It’s a very talented crop this year led by Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr. The Bears also have their own talented group.
Lance Briggs will look to lead this new look defense. He’s still one of the best outside linebackers in the league even going into his 12th season. It’s up in the air on who the other outside linebacker will be.
Jon Bostic should be given every chance to start at the strong side position. He has a ton of talent and is a hard hitter who can help support the run. His struggles last year at middle linebacker were largely due to his poor angles and low quality of talent in front of him.
It was trial by fire for Bostic last year. He was set up for failure by being thrust into the starting role. He should be a lot better playing in a group with Briggs and D.J. Williams. The Bears should allow Bostic to play on first and second down and bring him off the field on third down.
Replacing Bostic on third down should be Shea McClellin. His athleticism, speed and pass rushing skills would be a problem for opposing offenses. Imagine already having to worry about Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Jeremiah Ratliff. McClellin would be an outstanding blitzing linebacker.
At Boise State, McClellin was a pass rushing linebacker in a 3-4 system. He was outstanding in coming off the edge and should be given every opportunity to do the same this year. A good blueprint to use for McClellin is Jamie Collins from the New England Patriots. They use Collins’ skills to do everything from cover tight ends to pass rushing. He truly is their joker defender.
Khaseem Greene is last year’s fourth round pick. He will likely be strictly a special teams player but is very talented and could be the next man up when Lance Briggs decides to hang it up.
Back to the draft, the Bears should have no interest in picking up a linebacker. Who are the best guys? Our friends at the national site have their list here.