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:
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.