Bears defensive scheme:
At the end of the season, Trestman stated that all aspects of the Bears defensive would be reviewed. Players, coaches and scheme. That led to an interesting debate of would the Bears move from the standard 4-3 format? That discussion was further fanned when the Bears made two coaching changes at defensive line and linebacker. Bringing in two experienced coaches and both having backgrounds in 3-4, as well as. 4-3 schemes. It was also mentioned, that Mel Tucker, the defensive coordinator was well versed in both formats. The Bears finally did say they would stay with the 4-3, but there would be more variety of looks and schemes going forward. Leading most of us to accept that the Bears will run some sort of hybrid 4-3/3-4 format, ala, Seattle and Atlanta.
This idea of a hybrid defense was further cemented when the Bears announced that McClellin would move to linebacker (where he played in college) and would be used off the edge as a rusher. With this move, this would allow the Bears to use various looks not only from the defensive line but now at linebacker. All this talk of the various looks the Bears will give opponents signalled something different from past Bears defenses: versatility.
Versatility and 3 technique:
Most are saying about now, yes yes we know all that but we still need a 3 technique defensive of lineman. The fact is we have them, all five of them. Right off the top, Paea and Collins can play 3 technique, along with Izzy. Also, Emery said that Ratliff will play shade tackle and 3 technique. Along with the fact that Houston played a lot of 3 technique with the Raiders. Now some will say it will be Houston and Allen at the ends, and I agree sometimes. However, you have Willie Young who is one of the best against the run and effective pass rusher. He doesn’t get a lot of sacks but finished with 60 total QB pressures (Houston had 63) ranking him 15th. Willie Young is not sitting on the bench. The Bears now have depth at DT and the versatility to play the various schemes they will deploy.
Donald, odd man out:
Still many will say that Donald is still a good fit, he is disruptive and a great pass rusher. I will give you all that. The situation is this. He is a 3 technique defensive tackle … that is it. He can not play 2 gap or 5 gap effectively making him a one trick pony. On a team that is looking for versatility, he now becomes a part time player, getting maybe 10-15 snaps per game. The Bears will want players that can have the ability to be plugged into other spots along the line, hence the recent workouts of Will Sutton and Dominque Easley, both lineman that can play up and down the line. You could also name, Justin Ellis and Reid out of Princeton as players that fit the versatility mold.
The situation about Donald is not about his playing ability. It is simply, he is not versatile enough for the Bears to spend a first round pick on a player that will be part time at best. He is an excellent pass rusher, but average against the run. The Bears have that covered with Houston and others with far more experience. Will the Bears draft a defensive tackle? Yes, probably in the second round where they can find anyone of of the four names mentioned.
In the end, with your first pick, you want a player that will impact the team and help them win now. Donald with all of his abilities is just too limiting for what the Bears need or want on their defensive of line, he just doesn’t fit the Bears needs.