Bears turn their attention to D-line prospect
Bears turn their attention to D-line prospects
February 28, 2011 5:00 PM | 8 Comments
By Vaughn McClure
Everybody seems to assume the Bears will target an offensive lineman in April with their first-round draft pick, the 29th overall selection. But with Monday's release of three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris, is it time for the Bears to shift their focus toward the defensive line?
General manager Jerry Angelo might have had the D-line on his mind all along.
"You have to have good lines," Angelo said during a sit-down interview before the NFL scouting combine. "Why? Obviously, your defensive line impacts the pass rush. It's a third-down league now, and 75 percent of the offenses are throwing the football. And they're doing it from the shotgun."
The Bears improved along the line last season with the addition of first-team All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers. But the line still could have been better rushing the passer.
As he headed to Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday morning, Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli talked about dissecting this year's defensive line prospects in Indianapolis.
"The first part here is about getting a chance to meet the guy in a controlled environment," Marinelli said. "At the workouts, I'm looking at who will compete, who's in shape.
"The drills a lot of times, for me, don't tell a whole lot of the story because there's no reaction. It's all pre-determined movements. Defense is not that. It's reaction. I do love watching guys vertical jump and broad jump because you can see their natural power."
Approached later in the day Monday about Harris' release, Marinelli deferred comment to head coach Lovie Smith.
In terms of the draft, Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget is a first-round talent, but he might be gone before the Bears select.
"I'd say it's a deep class, at least that's what I've seen,'' new Bears defensive line coach Mike Phair said of the defensive line prospects as a whole.