With the 33rd pick of Pride of Detroit's 2012 NFL mock draft, the St. Louis Rams select Boise State linebacker Shea McClellin. Ee Oulo is serving as the Rams' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
With a first-time general manager in Les Snead, a new but controlling head coach in Jeff Fisher, and no defensive coordinator eligible, it's a daunting task to try and predict what direction the Rams will go in this draft. Having the dominant talent of Shea McClellin, a DE/OLB from Boise State, available helps make the choice a lot easier! With so many parts of this team very much in limbo, the flexibility and playmaking ability McClellin offers is the final selling point in making him the clear choice for this pick.
The state of the Rams LB corps is pretty dismal. It amounts to a bunch of special teams players surrounding the talented young James Laurinaitis in the middle. Shea brings much needed talent to this situation. He brings the proven ability to drop into man and hang with almost any TE along with the strength to not get bullied by them. He also has shown solid ability in the run game. He's able to take on lead blockers well and diagnose lanes. While providing good coverage and run support, he also has the ability to be a thumper and deliver a hit they'll all remember. He's shown to be highly instinctual and is able to put himself around the ball so he will make plays in all areas of the game. Shea also has experience playing as a middle linebacker and performed well at it. This means he can also be a valued option to slide over to the middle in case something happens to Laurinaitis. It's just a part of the experience and flexibility he brings.
Shea also has experience playing with his hand down in their 4-3 look! At his current 255-pound weight, he's a bit light for this role, but has the potential to add more and not take too much off of his game. While I don't see that as being a likely scenario for him anymore (I was first sold on him as a 4-3 DE), it is still an option. The Rams have some solid talent at DE so they likely won't have to call upon Shea to make this change.
Shea is probably best known for his ability to get after the QB. Many project him to be a 3-4 OLB instead but that might not utilize his full skill set. This just adds to his versatility in how the Rams will be able to use him. If Gregg Williams were to be the DC (which won't happen), he would fall in love with this added dimension to bring blitzes. No matter what DC is brought in I'm confident Shea will get plenty of opportunity to show this area of his game whether it's standing or his hand on the ground.
There are many fans clamoring for the Rams to bring in a play maker on the offense at this point. While that is a need, what they get with this pick is a solid play maker for the defense. His high motor and drive will help bring long needed respectability to this unit. There will bTe other opportunities to help the other side of the ball in the draft. At this point in the draft the talent level Shea brings is unrivaled.
Check out the 2012 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.