DT Khyri Thorton (6’2, 301) Southern Mississippi: The top prospect in the game according to ESPN’s big board, Thorton didn’t disappoint. He was in the back field constantly on both run and pass plays and beat multiple double teams. Thorton just looked better than anyone who tried to block him. He showed good quickness for his size, used his hands well to keep separation, and showed a good motor getting up off the ground to chase down a QB for a sack. Thorton could provide good depth for the Bears in 2014 and eventually become a starting DT. Worth a 5th round pick.
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LB Jeremiah George (5’11, 220) Iowa St: Undersized for the middle, but led the Big12 in tackles last season (133). George played up to his competition with his best two games coming against Baylor (18 tackles) and Oklahoma St (12 tackles). George showed great range during the NFLPA game making plays on screen passes and outside runs. He also showed good hand play shedding two blocks to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. I think he’s too small to play MLB in the NFL, but the Bears could move him to weak side linebacker so he can use his speed (4.56) and range to make plays all over the field. George should be available with one of the Bears 6th round picks and I think he’d give Khaseem Greene a run for playing time right now. Worst case he’d be valuable on special teams.
DE/OLB Kasim Edebali (6’3, 248) Boston College: Edebali showed off his extremely quick first step during the game, blowing past the right tackle twice for QB hurries. He’s too thin right now to be a 3-down DE, but looks to have room for more weight on his frame. Edebalii didn’t look fluid enough to be an OLB, so his best chance to stick in the NFL is as a pass rush specialist. His explosive first step is a money-making skill and he could have value as a sub-package DE. Edebali reminded me a little of Mark Anderson who had 12 sacks as a rookie before an up and down NFL career. Edebali is projected to be taken in the 5th or 6th round, but teams tend to take pass rushers a little higher than projected.
DT Jamie Meder (6’2, 306) Ashland: 2-time GLIAC Defensive Lineman of the Year. Meder was unheralded coming into the game, but he gave Thorton a run for his money as the best d-lineman there. Meder stuffed a run on 4th & 2 after using his hands to shed a blocker and also got his hands up on a quick slant to tip a pass that ended up being intercepted. Meder also consistently held the point of attack against double teams in the running game. The Bears only have one DT on the roster (Paea), so they need to build some depth and Meter would provide good value in the 7th round or as an undrafted free agent. .
SS BooBoo Gates (5’11, 227) Bowling Green: You won’t find Gates on many prospect lists, but he stood out to me as the best defensive back on the field during the NFLPA game and also during the two Bowling Green games I saw this season. Gates is a well-rounded safety who projects as a strong safety at the next level. He’s a good hitter against the run, solid in coverage, and explosive enough to return to 2 kicks and a punt for TDs during his college career. Gates is a 7th round prospect who will excel in special teams off the bat and has the potential to develop into a starting safety down the road.