Road to the Draft…Part Four-Defensive Ends

On first glance, most would not consider this a need position for the Bears, with the success of signing Julius Peppers last year, and the success of first-year, full-time starter Israel Idonije last year. However, there are some reasons to think the Bears would draft a defensive end early in this draft. Firstly, the success of the cover-2 scheme the Bears run is predicated on being able to get after the QB. From Simeon Rice to Leonard Little to Dwight Freeney, a DE that can get around the edge is paramount. Secondly, with a gaping hole at the 3-technique tackle left by Tommie Harris’ departure, coupled with Israel Idonije and Henry Melton’s experience at the DT position, it makes sense that if a better DE prospect is available than at DT, you draft the DE and move Idonije and/or Melton back inside. Thirdly, while Peppers and Idonije played well last year, they are both on the other side of thirty, and we did not get to see enough of Corey Wootton to know if he is a long-term answer. So here are the prospects, as ranked by CBS draft Scout—remember, we only list the DEs who fit our scheme—no 5-technique DEs—and as always, click on the player’s name to link to a full scouting report:

1st Round: Robert Quinn (North Carolina); Da’ Quan Bowers (Clemson); Cameron Jordan (California); Aldon Smith (Missouri); Adrian Clayborn (Iowa); Cameron Heyward (Ohio State).

2nd Round: Christian Ballard (Iowa); Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh); Allen Bailey (Miami).

3rd Round:None

4th Round: Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh); Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State); Ugo Chinasa (Oklahoma State); Pierre Allen (Nebraska)

5-7th Rounds: Cliff Matthews (South Carolina); Ricky Elmore (Arizona); Markus White (Florida State); Ryan Wintersyk (Boise State).

I think a) the Bears need to come out of the first two rounds with an immediate-starting, impact player at either DT or DE. Again, if they go with an edge rusher, expect Idonije and/or Melton to slide back inside to tackle. If the Bears go with a DT in the early part of the draft, I still expect them to add a project/potential sleeper in rounds 5-7. A couple of those guys I really like are Greg Romeus and Cliff Mathews. Romeus was rated as first-round talent in 2009; but is currently hurt (Back surgery). He is definitely worth taking a 5th or 6th-round flyer on, seeing as how you could pretty much redshirt him this season, with Peppers and Idonije entrenched at either DE spot. Mathews doesn’t have the ideal measurables; but was a 4-year starter at South Carolina, team captain, and had his biggest games this year against teams like Florida and Auburn—the teams with the NFL-type talent.

4 responses

  1. johnnyharvard

    Well written. Its why trading down makes the most sense. I think Dan Pompei put it best when he wrote the bears need to get a slew of young good players than they need of one or two stars. Of course you never know what you can get out of those late rounders too. They may need a year or two but may become eventual stars I.E. Lance Briggs in the 4th. DE is definitely an area we need to start adding depth to. Its why the Gilbert pick and the trade for Adams and his eventual death really killed this team. Its the depth more than anything. Bears were fortunate to be injury free last year but that won’t last. They do have nIck Reed on the Roster and curiously Melton is listed as a DE. So he can at the least play there in a pinch.

    April 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    • the best we can hope for is that someone like the panthers, broncos, 49ers, etc are desperate enough for ponder, dalton, etc to want to trade back up into the 1st round. i think even if a guy like ingram falls, we would be better serve to trade down and get an additional 3rd,4th, or 5th. only if it is julio jones, aj green, bowers, quinn, fairley, or dareus do i stay in the first and draft that guy if he drops. hell, if jones or green drop, i might start thnking about trading UP.

      April 10, 2011 at 6:28 am

  2. I liked your article, smart take. Check out my Top DL: http://nflfootballnow.com/2011/04/06/top-ten-dl/.

    I would like to see Tice work with Solider, but DT might be more important.

    April 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    • definitely will do. and although i agree with you on solder’s potenial, especially with the coaching of tice; I do not like the idea of coming out of the first 2 rounds without 2 guys who can start immediately. its the reason i don like any of the WRs that will be available for the bears at the end of the first round. except for green and jones, i dont see any talent that you cant gt in the 3rd or 4th rounds.

      April 10, 2011 at 6:24 am

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