There is no doubt that the Chicago Bears need more help on the defensive line.
Karl Brooks, DL, Bowling Green
What can he prove?: A transition to the inside/dominate against better competition
When it comes to the D line and this Bears regime, there is only one place to start and that is at 3 technique.
It’s something that will be beaten to death this offseason but for good reason. The Bears have to find upgrades at that position.
In terms of this Senior Bowl group, there aren’t many guys who fit the billing of a true 3 tech. Bowling Green’s Karl Brooks is the one that intrigues me the most.
To quote the great Shaquille O’Neal, I apologize because I am not as familiar with Brooks’s game as I would like to be. There just isn’t much Bowling Green film out there.
From what I have seen, however, Brooks is an oversized edge rusher who was on a different level of athleticism than his peers in the MAC. Brooks crashes the pocket with force from stand-up alignments at 6’ 4” and 300 lbs.
It is quite a sight to see this defensive tackle built player lineup as an outside linebacker. I believe that changes in the pros though. Brooks’s size will most likely require him to play inside most of the time.
His explosive up-the-field skill set fascinates me at 3 techs. We just haven’t seen him be used as such. He has played 211 career snaps in the b gap versus 1,442 snaps outside of the tackle (according to PFF).
For as smooth of a transition as it may seem, it’s still a projection. The Senior Bowl will give him chances to rush from a 3 tech alignment against the best competition he has seen. The Bears should have their eyes on him.
Isaiah McGuire, Edge, Mizzou
What can he prove?: Pass rush ability
Isaiah McGuire is an underlooked guy in a loaded edge rusher class. At 6’ 4” and 272 lbs, McGuire is one of the best power rushers and run defenders you will find.
He has some nice juice to threaten the edge as well, which is why I like him so much. He has displayed the ability to win in multiple ways. That is crucial for edge rushers at the next levels because NFL tackles are too good to get beat solely by one pitch.
In terms of what he can prove, there aren’t many questions I have about McGuire’s projection. This is more so an opportunity to put himself on the map in the draft world.
He has a lot of traits that Eberflus has historically coveted at edge rusher as it pertains to the Bears. I am sure he will be one of the guys that they are closely monitoring.
Byron Young, Edge, Tennessee
What can he prove?: Pass rush polish
There are a lot of undersized pass rushers in this Senior Bowl crop. Tennessee’s Byron Young is the one I am most excited to see.
Young is truly one of the most twitched-up players I have ever studied. His blend of burst and bend is rare and jumps off of his tape.
The problem is that he is very much a man without a plan as a pass rusher. He solely tries to win with his speed and needs to incorporate his hands more.
It’s hard to envision that his pass-rush toolbox has greatly expanded from when he last played. However, he is going to have 1 on 1 opportunity to show that he is further along as a pass rusher than we believe.
Pass rushing will have to be where teams hang their hat with Young because he doesn’t have enough heft to hold up against the run. He is a prototypical situational pass rusher. A role that was back in vogue in a big way this season.