Defensive Tackle Market Will Be Interesting.
The market took am initial hit when the Washington Commanders placed the franchise tag on Daron Payne. But a bigger shock came when a warrant was issued for the arrest of Georgia star Jalen Carter. The number of impact guys is dwindling but there are still a lot of interesting names.
- Javon Hargrave is probably the best player available, but the Bears might not be interested in giving a large contract to a seven-year veteran who just turned 30 years old.
- Dre’mont Jones – 26 when the next season begins – has been playing in Denver’s 3-4 since coming into the league in 2019 but could thrive switching to a scheme that allows him to shoot the gap every play.
- Zach Allen, who will also be 26, has been a defensive end in his career, but could benefit from a move inside.
- Without question the most interesting potential option is Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore. While the Wildcats moved him around the line of scrimmage, Adebawore showed burst inside at the Senior Bowl and lit up the combine with a 4.49-second 40-yard dash (1.61 10-yard split) and a 37.5-inch vertical, while weighting 282 pounds with arms that are about 34 inches long.
Looking for an Edge.
While the Bears will have a ton of interesting options on the interior of their defensive line, the edge market might not be as strong as once thought.
For starters, the free agent market has very few adequate options. And while Will Anderson is the consensus best player in the draft, the Bears probably won’t be able to draft him if they trade back.
In Matt Eberflus’ time as a defensive coordinator and head coach, his teams have exclusively drafted ends who have weighed at least 250 pounds with at least 33-inch arms and a 35-inch vertical jump. The only defensive ends to jump 35 inches with the aforementioned size and length were Pittsburgh’s Habakkuk Baldonado, Missouri’s Isaiah McGuire, Louisville’s Yaya Diaby and Adebawore, who the Bears could see as a tackle.
The Pro Day circuit will be interesting to watch here. There were a number of players — like Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness — who showed very good all-around athleticism but didn’t jump well. The NFL changed the combine workouts around again this year, so it’s possible that the jumps were impacted by that.
Otherwise, the Bears might be scrambling to revamp their defensive line, especially on the outside.