Phil Emery spent money in free agency to add veterans to the Bears linebacking corps. Lance Briggs will be joined in the 2013 starting lineup by James Anderson and DJ Williams. After drafting Jon Bostic on Day Two of the draft, Emery has now added Khaseem Greene and possibly solidified this corps for the foreseeable future.
Greene and Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham dont share a last name and didnt grow up in the same house, but the half-brothers (their father, Raymond Graham, played football at Purdue) are still close. Greene was born 17 months earlier than Graham, and scouts are sure to be highly interested in both.
The Elizabeth, N.J. product played one season at a prep school following his high school career, then sat out the 2008 season as a redshirt. Greene played all 13 games at safety the next season, starting one and making 33 tackles (including two sacks) and intercepting two passes. He earned the full-time starting free safety job as a sophomore, racking up 77 stops, 2.5 for loss, and picking off two more passes and forcing four fumbles. A move to linebacker during the spring of 2011 proved fruitful for Greene in 2011, as he was named the Big Easts Co-Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference (ranking 12th nationally) with 141 tackles, 14.5 of which were for losses. He was having his typical productive contest in the teams win over Iowa State in the Pinstripe Bowl (14 tackles, three for loss, pass breakup) before suffering a broken right ankle with less than five minutes to go. He did not participate in 2012 spring practices while rehabbing the injury. His 2012 season, however, showed no signs of him being slowed down. Greene totaled 136 tackles, 12 of which were for loss, with six sacks. He also managed to break up five passes, record 10 quarterback hurries, and force six fumbles
Chase linebacker who takes advantage of open lanes to track ballcarriers behind the line or from behind. Consistently goes for the strip or takes a strong punch at the ball if not wrapping up a leg. Maintains the movement skills of a safety in coverage, proving capable of lining up over tight ends and slot receivers and running deep down the middle third when asked. An aware zone defender, watching the quarterback to come off crossers and make a play on the ball. Smells out screens and quick throws when playing outside. His quickness and flexibility make him an effective blitzer, dipping under blockers shoulders to get into the backfield.
Must look healthy this season after recovering from a broken right ankle in the teams 2011 bowl game. Has a safety build, possessing average height and thinner lower body. Not the strongest or most physical tackler, most likely to dive towards ballcarriers feet than bring real impact. Overruns plays and gets lost in trash inside and lacks strength to take on blocks between the tackles. Hustle is hot and cold, will watch plays to opposite sideline instead of trying to get the angle to prevent the big play. Hands for the interception are only adequate, as he does not always make the moderately difficult catch away from his frame.
Greene appears to be a prototypical 4-3 weak-side linebacker. He has tremendous speed and athletic ability. One of the most intriguing aspects of Greene’s game is how efficient he is as a blocker. He will struggle to work through traffic, and needs to be more physical at the line of scrimmage. While not as refined, Greene shares many similar traits with 2012 second-round pick Lavonte David, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But what do our friends over at Walter Football think about the Rutgers product?
- “4/24/13: Despite a ton of production, Greene has gone under the radar. He could be a second-day steal.Greene was an animal for Rutgers in 2012. He amassed 136 tackles, six sacks, six forced fumbles, five passes batted, two interceptions and 12 tackles for a loss. The senior was tremendous at consistently producing impact plays and was the leader of his defense.
Surprisingly, Greene didn’t perform well at the Combine. His 40 time was slower than expected, and his bench press total of 17 reps was rather small.”
A new era of Bears linebackers may have begun in the last 24 hours. The question is whether Mel Tucker and his coaching staff can extract greatness from these dynamic, athletic talents.