Here are five players to keep an eye on as possible Chicago Bears targets when the NFL scouting combine kicks into high gear with on-field workouts beginning Friday.
1. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington….Shelton fits the bill as the prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a massive wide-body whose girth belies his ability to chase plays down all over the field. Uses his strength and under-rated athletic skills to split double teams and become a disruptive force. Shelton doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, instead relying on a bull rush to force his way into the backfield, and can get tied up on occasion. The thing that sets him apart is a high football IQ and never give up approach. Shelton often finds the ball and makes plays all over the field, thanks to his relentlessness and savvy.
2. Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida….Fowler is an intriguing rush man who combines size/speed/instincts to find the quarterback. Really came on in 2014, displaying the type of consistent play and effort that excite NFL evaluators. Fowler boasts an excellent first step and the ability to finish. Long arms provide him the wingspan to take advantage of opposing offensive lineman who are slow out of their stance. Versatile enough to rush from different angles and projects as either a 3-4 rush backer or a 4-3 defensive end with his hand in the dirt. Can even kick inside on some alignments, further complicating an offense’s blocking schemes. READ MORE
A month into their tenure as the new Chicago Bears brain trust, General Manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox get ready to roll up their sleeves as the NFL Scouting Combine unfolds this week in Indianapolis.
Besides the evaluation of over 300 prospects and the important interviews that accompany them, Pace and Fox will likely reveal their thoughts on the Bears 2015 roster. Chief among those decisions are the futures of both QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall, each due big money in mid-March.
There’s also the question of whether long-time Bears Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman will return. Early signs point to the answer being no, but Pace and Fox may be able to confirm that when they meet with the media in a mid-week press briefing.
Chicago Bears coach John Fox reached into the collegiate ranks to round out his coaching staff, naming Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton to coach the same position with the Bears. Drayton’s hiring completes Fox’s position group coaches, leaving a handful of quality control spots open on his inaugural Chicago staff.
As for Drayton, he’s a veteran with 22 years of coaching experience including the last four (2011-14) with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Drayton will replace Skip Peete, who spent the last two years overseeing the backs for former head coach Marc Trestman.
He spent the 2014 season as Ohio State’s assistant head coach on offense/running backs, his third consecutive year working with the Buckeye running backs. In 2014, Drayton helped the Buckeyes win the National Championship as sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott finished third in the nation and second in single-season school history with 1,878 rushing yards.