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Bears could have a steal in Troy left tackle James Brown

Troy offensive lineman James Brown runs drill NFL football scouting combine Indianapolis Saturday Feb. 25 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Troy offensive lineman James Brown runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Updated: June 1, 2012 8:13AM

The Bears didn’t use one of their draft picks on an offensive lineman, but they landed a player widely projected to be selected as high as the third round.

James Brown was among the 11 undrafted players the Bears agreed to terms with Sunday, and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. rated the Troy left tackle as the 54th-best prospect overall.

Brown is 6-4 and 306 pounds with long arms, which is regarded as a prerequisite for an NFL offensive tackle. But there are concerns about his overall quickness and strength, and some teams believed he might be better suited as a guard.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Brown was open to playing any position on either side.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I just want to play football.”

In high school, he played right tackle. But he starred at left tackle at Troy, starting 38 games.

The scouting report on Brown in Pro Football Weekly’s draft guide highlights his footwork, arm length and his “fiery on-field temperament.” His negatives were mostly related to his technique. That isn’t a huge concern because Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice is known as an excellent teacher.

The Bears’ other undrafted free agents: Western Illinois wide receiver Terriun Crump, Wyoming running back Alvester Alexander, Old Dominion defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, Louisiana Tech linebacker Adrien Cole, Maine safety Trevor Coston, West Texas A&M wide receiver Britton Golden, Albany offensive tackle A.J. Greene, Wayne State safety Jeremy Jones, Liberty wide receiver Chris Summers and Southern Mississippi linebacker Ronnie Thornton.

Smith on McClellin

Bears coach Lovie Smith said he has no concerns about first-round pick Shea McClellin’s ability to defend the run.

“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.

“We’re not a two-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.’’

Meanwhile, Smith insisted that McClellin won’t be a linebacker for the Bears. Some projected him better suited to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme who can rush the passer.

“Where will [McClellin] play? He’s not a linebacker. Let’s start with that,’’ Smith said. “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.”

McClellin eventually could replace middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. But the Bears wouldn’t be inclined to admit anything now.

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