Smallwood: Joining Bears 'would be an honor'

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by little bear, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago-bears/post/_/id/4690673/smallwood-joining-bears-would-be-an-honor

    LB Smallwood: Joining Bears 'would be an honor'

    At the time Connecticut middle linebacker Yawin Smallwood stepped to the podium for his media session at the NFL combine, the only team he'd met with up to that point was the Chicago Bears.

    That's fine by Smallwood.
    "It would be an honor [to play for the Bears]," he said. "They have a great tradition of having great Hall of Fame linebackers over there, so I would be so happy to play over there. But I'm just going to show what I can do and see what happens from there."

    Well, the results during on-field testing at Lucas Oil Stadium didn't go quite the way Smallwood would have wanted. He bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times, and ran a 5.01-second 40-yard dash after pulling up with a hamstring injury. Smallwood also posted a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and a broad jump of 9 feet.

    He'll receive another opportunity to better those results next month at Connecticut's Pro Day, but apparently the Bears liked what they saw on film of Smallwood, who declared for the draft after his junior season. Smallwood racked up a team-high 118 tackles as a junior, and 120 as a sophomore, with 15 of those stops going for lost yardage, in addition to producing four sacks and forcing two fumbles. It doesn't hurt that he's played for new Bears defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni.

    Pasqualoni spent a little more than two seasons (2011-13) as head coach at Connecticut. Going into last season with Smallwood being named to the Bednarik and Butkus Award preseason watch lists, Pasqualoni said told the Hartford Courant that one thing, "I really like about him, which I think is a strength, is that he doesn't process what he sees. He just goes. Some guys look at it and they hesitate, then they go. He's not a process guy. He's a read-and-react guy, which is a big part of the position, too."

    Asked what the Bears liked about him, Smallwood said, "I have a high motor. I make plays out there on the football field. I rack up a lot of tackles. That's what they need on defense."

    There's no disputing that with the Bears coming off their worst defensive season in franchise history. At this point, however, it's unknown what the club's level of interest in Smallwood really is.

    Smallwood (6-2 ½, 246 pounds) played middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme at UConn for Pasqualoni and is confident he's capable of handling what would be required of him at that position in the NFL.

    At the combine, Smallwood, a former high school quarterback, wanted to show "that I'm an athletic Mike. I feel like I can cover the tight ends, the fast tight ends now. I feel that I can stop the run, make plays out there on the football field. I'm able to play with the big boys. The only knock that I had was that I didn't really play any big teams in college. I feel like teams are going to see once I get on the field that I can compete at a high football level."

    Smallwood is projected to be taken anywhere from the second to fourth round of the draft. If selected, Smallwood could be in competition with Jonathan Bostic, Shea McClellin and veteran D.J. Williams, provided he's brought back in 2014, for the starting job in the middle.
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    anyone excited w/the idea of Bostic/Smallwood/She as the future LB's on the team?


    When I think about that future you could call me smallwood also.
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  3. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Veteran

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    He's a late round guy if anything...I don't see him challenging for a starting spot.
  4. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1763479/yawin-smallwood

    6'2'' - 246 lbs. - Projected Round: 2-3

    Overview
    With the NFL increasingly turning towards the pass, inside linebackers generally drop on draft day. Smallwood's intriguing traits, however, could make him an exception to the rule.
    A more fluid athlete than Stanford's Shayne Skov or Wisconsin's Chris Borland, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior inside linebackers, Smallwood was asked to cover wide receivers as well as running backs for the Huskies, demonstrating the versatility to intrigue 3-4 and 4-3 defensive coordinators, alike.

    Smallwood, UConn's Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, started all 12 games for UConn and led the team with 118 tackles, the second consecutive season in which he finished atop the team rankings. Considering the presence of future Oakland Raiders linebacker Sio Moore for the Huskies, that was no small accomplishment. Smallwood also picked up 9.5 TFL and a team-high four sacks, adding an interception, nine pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles to an all-around dominant season. Although he left after his junior season, Smallwood has a very productive resume with 36 starts and 332 total tackles the past three years and is pro-ready.

    Analysis
    STRENGTHS: Possesses a lanky frame more typical of an outside linebacker... Boasts long arms and impressive fluidity, allowing him to be just as effective in coverage as in supporting the run and attacking the passer. Good balance, agility and speed for the position. Uses his length and strength well to disengage from blocks and latch on to the shifty ball-carriers, showing the balance to adjust in space. Displays the toughness and energy to finish tackles, exploding into ball-carriers. One of Smallwood's most impressive characteristics is his ability to rush the quarterback. He "only" registered four in 2013 but his awareness and acceleration routinely resulted in big plays for teammates and he could be just scratching the surface of his potential in this area.
    WEAKNESSES: Takes false steps, too often biting on play-action and getting himself out of position. Doesn't possess ideal muscular development (especially in his upper body) for the inside linebacker position. Flashes physicality but is more of a grab-and-drag tackler, rather than an intimidator in the middle.

    COMPARES TO: Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots - Smallwood's length, flashes of physicality and athleticism is sure to intrigue scouts who could see him as a poor man's version of New England's star.

    --Rob Rang

  5. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    Isn't this the same crap that the coaching staff was spewing last year? I thought we changed the LB Coach?

    This sounds exactly like "if you are going to be wrong at least do it at full speed". Our LBs were so out of position last year that it actually made our D-line look worse than it already was.

    Maybe just maybe that hesitation as a rookie is a good thing. Just like a good running back is patient to wait for the holes then hit them, it should apply to the guy on the otherside of the ball too.

    I know that meeting a guy in the hole at the line of scrimmage is not as sexy as blowing him up in the backfield, but gap integrity last year was the worse I have ever seen.

    This Defense could be just as bad as last year if the coaches don't get thier heads out....reguardless of who we get in FA or the draft, expectually the draft.

    Christ, this reminds me of the feeling I had everytime we drafted or brought in a WR when Drake was here!
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  6. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Veteran

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    I think that is a two pronged problem. The two rookies often over ran plays, true, but because our d-line was so bad at keeping blockers off them perhaps they felt they needed to get to the spot quicker. Like a QB has an internal clock, so does a linebacker.
  7. ZifanQ

    ZifanQ Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Some video on him. I think he had some "easy" tackles that he missed.
  8. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    From that video, not impressed at all. Seems slow, and does not secure the tackle every time, seems to avoid the block to get to the ball carrier. And he needs to act like he has made a tackle or two and not celebrate like he is an all pro.

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