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.
Winners and losers from a very talented defensive line class. Wes Bunting
Taking a look at which prospects stood out during day three of the NFL combine workouts.
I will admit being slightly turned off when I first saw the overall physical make-up of Auburn DL Nick Fairley and his leaner lower half. However, watching him change directions, sink his hips and bend into and out of his breaks was nothing short of striking. Plus, the big guy posted a 40 in the low 4.8 range at nearly 300 pounds and displayed some real natural power on his punch during drills. If I had to pick number one overall, I am leaning toward Fairley as that guy.
• Another standout Monday was California DL Cameron Jordan, who I talked about last week as a guy who might not have the greatest of combine numbers and could fall slightly because of it. However, he posted a very solid low 4.7 40 and looked very fluid and comfortable during position drills. Jordan was able to cleanly change directions for a big guy, possessed good natural flexibility and can really generate a burst out of his breaks. He looked surprisingly natural in space as well and is definitely a prospect who could end up going in the top 10 because of it.
• Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn didn’t have the same type of straight-line speed as some of the other top defensive ends in group one. However, for a big guy, 4.8 is just fine. But where Clayborn really stood out was when asked to work his way through position drills, fluidly changing directions, sinking his hips and getting up to top-end speed quickly. Looks like a lock for the first round after this workout.
• On the other side, Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan did shock me a bit with his 40 in the high 4.6 range and is a better straight-line athlete than I anticipated. However, he still looked tight hipped and stiff when asked to turn and run, too often allowing himself to get upright and didn’t get up to speed quickly out of his breaks. His ball skills were solid during linebacker drills, but again he’s more of a linear athlete in my view who needs to win with his hands and motor at the next level. Doesn’t warrant a first-round pick in my view.
• I’ve received a lot of e-mails from readers asking why I have Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal listed as a free agent on our rankings. Well, in my view he’s simply not a very good athlete or natural pass rusher and Monday proved that. He posted a 5.0-plus 40 time, was stiff and tight hipped during linebacker drills and I just don’t see him having the ability to consistently create pressure off the edge at the next level.
The same can be said about TCU DE Wayne Daniels, who the NFP also has listed as a free agent. He’s a conversion player who is too small to play DE in the NFL, but lacks the range and overall fluidity to play in space. He ran in the 5.0-plus range as well today, struggled to change directions throughout and doesn’t look like a guy who can reach the passer at the next level.
• Again, I wasn’t real impressed with Miami DL Allen Bailey. He didn’t run nearly as well as I anticipated (4.7 range), was tight-hipped during drills and doesn’t look much more than a solid anchor, but reserve type lineman only.
• Finally, I have been critical of North Carolina DL Marvin Austin throughout the draft process and made the statements during the year that I would not have the guy on my draft board. Nevertheless, he has done nothing but improve his draft stock in my view since the postseason started. The guy has a strong, impressive looking frame, ran in the low 4.8 range Monday and showed good natural power and explosion throughout position drills. Now, my grade isn’t going to change on him and I still wouldn’t add the guy to my board even if I was part of an NFL team. However, because of his postseason workouts and impressive physique, I could see the guy coming off the board in the second-round range.
Updated Monday, February 28, 2011 at 1:03:10 PM CSTNameSchool40-Yard
pressCasey, JurrellUSC5.0726Dareus, MarcellAlabama4.9224Fairley, NickAuburn4.82 Graves, JohnVirginia Tech5.09 Guy, LawrenceArizona St.4.9528Liuget, CoreyIllinois4.9527Paea, StephenOregon St. 49Siliga, SealverUtah Wilkerson, MuhammadTemple 27
Updated Monday, February 28, 2011 at 1:03:10 PM CSTNameSchool40-Yard DashBenchpress
Casey, Jurrell USC 5.07 26
Dareus, Marcell Alabama4.92 24
Fairley, Nick Auburn4.82
Graves, John Virginia Tech5.09
Guy, LawrenceArizona St.4.95 28
Liuget, Corey Illinois4.95 27
Paea, Stephen Oregon St. 49
Siliga, Sealver Utah
Wilkerson, Muhammad Temple 27
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has become the official final word at the combine -- he’s the last guy at the podium after four days of interviews because he’s great at summarizing things.
I just listened to a tape of his talk, and pulled out some things I thought you’d find interesting. I’ll have his voice in a piece or two still to come as well.
- “The defensive line in general is phenomenal. I’ve got nine defensive ends with first-round grades. Typically 3.8 to four go in the first round.”
Round 1 could bring D-line help
Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 22:44
While the Bears' greatest area of need remains the offensive line, no one should be surprised if they target the defensive line with their first-round pick (29th overall).
With defensive tackle Tommie Harris cut on Monday and nose tackle Anthony Adams eligible for free agency, reinforcements on defense are needed. Since taking over as the Bears’ draft day decision maker in 2002, G.M. Jerry Angelo has used his top pick on a defensive lineman three times and drafted 14 in nine years.
There are an abundance of talented defensive ends available this year, and as many as seven could be drafted in the first round. But, with Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije both coming off excellent seasons, the Bears are more likely to look for tackles than ends.
Pro Football Weekly's latest mock draft has the Bears taking Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget, and they'd probably be thrilled if he were still on the board, but that's questionable. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Liuget is a similar player to Harris when he came out of Oklahoma. But Liuget is a notch below Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Auburns' Nick Fairley, who are considered the top two tackles in the draft and could both be selected in the top five overall picks.
Another interesting defensive tackle prospect is Oregon State's Stephen Paea, who created some major buzz when he set the all-time Scouting Combine record last weekend by cranking out 49 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. Paea is freakishly strong, but he's still somewhat lacking in instincts, even though he was a three-year starter at OSU after a year at Snow Junior College in Utah.
The 6-foot-1, 306-pound Paea played just one year of high school football after emigrating just before his 17th birthday from Tonga, where he played rugby and dreamed of becoming a professional in that sport.
With his size and strength, Paea could play in Harris’ former three-technique spot and also at nose tackle in the Bears’ scheme.
Liuget. Not only is he from Illinois, but he even has a wallet that says BMF.
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.
Originally Posted by Henry Burris
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I would give you 5 Bear downs, if the system would let me, lol
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What reason has JA given us to believe that he would draft an o-lineman? Anyone who assumed that hasn't paid attention to his track record, Vaughn, if that's really your name.
Originally Posted by dabears54
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this actually brings up a good question. do we go after a stud DL to replace the once mighty T.Harris??.... or do we look to nab up one of the top tier O-linemen?
I think I'm good eitherway considering how loaded the draft is with Talented O-linemen. we could take a Stud DT in the first and still find at least 2 linemen good enough to replace Ohmyhell, and the Aging Garza.
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