The first question for Lovie Smith after the Bears completed their NFL draft Saturday came from Lovie Smith.
''Where will [Shea McClellin] play? He's not a linebacker -- let's start with that,'' Smith said, answering his own question in his opening remarks. ''He'll have his hand down in a three-point stance from Day One and he'll be in the defensive line room. We can't wait to get started with him. We think he can be an excellent pass rusher in the league. He's excited about competing with the other defensive ends.''
Lovie's attitude about McClellin in response to questions about the Boise State defensive end gave me more uncertainty and doubt about the Bears' draft than anything else. The advantage of a player like McClellin is his versatility -- Boise State got the most out of him by moving him around.
With his athleticism and motor at 6-3 and 260 pounds, McClellin theoretically can add a dimension of unpredictability to the Bears' defense it currently does not have. If McClellin is as good as advertised, he'd be one more player an opposing quarterback has to find before the snap. Besides Julius Peppers.
That is supposed to be an advantage. But Lovie seems to consider any potential tweaking of his beloved defense as an insult instead of an improvement that might give Aaron Rodgers and the Packers a wrinkle they haven't seen 100 times before. At least that's how it came across when he was asked if McClellin's versatility would allow the Bears to do some things they haven't done before.
''We feel like we've done that with our defense everyday we've been here to try and maximize every guy's potential in our scheme,'' Smith said. ''We're not going to start changing up things. Shea is the ideal guy to fit into what we do.
''We feel like we have a role with him there. We've had defensive ends that have had pretty good seasons playing our defense. We're not changing to the 3-4 or any of that stuff people talk about. He'll be a 4-3 end.''
It's hard to argue with Lovie Smith's credentials as a defense coach -- though his success with the Bears is inherently linked to Brian Urlacher (the Bears have been in the top half of the NFL in points allowed in each of Smith's eight seasons -- except 2009, when Urlacher missed the final 15 games and they were 21st). But he would seem to be selling his defense short if he doesn't at least consider the possibilities with McClellin.
Some people think he might have to, because they can't see McClellin ''setting the edge'' against the run at 260 pounds. Smith refuted that notion with typical disdain. He even made a good point -- but couldn't resist the condescending, argumentative tone that indicated the question had no merit.
''First off you have to explain ... how a 6-3 260-pound guy is going to have trouble doing that,'' he said. ''Weight is one of the most overrated things there is when you talk about football players. You talk about strength and athletic ability more than that.
''Were not a 2-gap, hit-guys-right-down-the-middle [defense]. We don't play that style of ball. We're a get-on-the-edge, maintain-your-gap [defense]. A defensive end that is 6-3, 260 pounds can do that easily. So that is no concern at all, Shea, believe me, will be able to hold his own with the big boys that he is playing with.''