Chicago Bears – Outside the Box Safety Options

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6.) OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College (6’0, 232): Great athlete; Pierre-Louis got some attention at the combine after finishing in the top five in the 40 (4.46), bench, vertical, broad jump, and 20-yard shuttle. Pierre-Louis is undersized as a linebacker but has great size for a strong safety. He’s struggled to shed blocks as a linebacker. Having more space coming from the safety position will allow him to utilize his speed more efficiently and avoid blockers. Pierre-Louis was solid covering TEs and RBs as a linebacker, so he should be sufficient in coverage, though might struggle if matched up with quicker slot receivers. If the Bears want Pierre-Louis he should be available in the 6th round with either of the Bears two picks.

7.) CB Bennett Jackson, Notre Dame (6’0, 195): Good size and ran well at the combine (4.51) but needs to improve his coverage technique. Jackson is much better with the action in front of him and struggles when he has to turn and run with receivers. He is best suited for a zone coverage scheme if he stays at corner, but might be better off as a free safety. Jackson has good range and is an excellent tackler. He should be available in the 5th or 6th round.

8.) OLB Denicos Allen, Michigan St (5’11, 220): If Allen were a few inches taller and 10-15 pounds heavier he’d be a day 2 pick at LB. He’s a heck of a football player, but probably too small to be a 3-down LB. Allen plays faster than he’s timed (4.7), has great instincts, and is a sure tackler despite his small frame. He’s also a violent blitzer and good in coverage. His skill-set translates well to the strong safety position and he could be a force against the run, but would need to be paired with a free safety who is strong in coverage. Allen ran a disappointing 4.7 40 at his pro day, so he may be too slow for the safety position but he seems to play much faster than that on the field. He has a shot to be drafted late on day 3.

9.) OLB Boseko Lokombo, Oregon (6’2, 225): He already excels in coverage from the linebacker position so he should be able to handle the switch to strong safety. Lokombo is very aggressive in run support and shows good blitzing instincts. He struggles to shed blocks and is a little raw, but has an intriguing mix of coverage skills, speed (4.66), aggression and athleticism.

10.) ILB Marquis Spruill, Syracuse (6’1, 229): Intense player who is a violent blitzer and big-hitter all over the field. He’s small for an NFL linebacker, but has some experience playing safety for Syracuse and also played a rover type position occasionally. He is a max-effort player, who plays mean, and his solid instincts keep him around the ball consistently. As a safety, Spruill would be a force against the run, but raw in coverage so he would need some technique work and most likely be protected by a free safety who is strong in coverage.

11.) CB Nick Addison, Bethune-Cookman (6’2, 185): Tall with excellent speed (<4.5) and very good ball skills. Addison had 9 interceptions in 25 starts and helped Bethune-Cookman win back-to-back MEAC titles. Addison is facing a position change and a big jump in competition but has enough talent to eventually contribute at free safety. Good developmental prospect who should be available after the draft as a priority free agent.

12.) QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois (6’0, 217): Lynch is very quick with elite change of direction skills. His 6.55 3-cone time at his pro day was better than any running back at the combine. Whether his quickness and athleticism translate to the safety position has yet to be seen, but he has the size and physical tools to warrant a look as a priority free agent.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_