Chicago Bears – Favorite MLB targets

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Round 4 (#117) – Preston Brown, Louisville (6’1, 251): Brown is a physical ILB with good size and instincts. He’s a step slow, but his instincts allow him to play faster than he’s timed (4.78) and he can really hit once he gets there. Brown could step in as a two-down run stopper right away. He’s not great in coverage, but he is a force against the run which the Bears really need.

Round 5 (#156) – Max Bullough, Michigan St (6’3, 249): The Bears need an MLB who can be a force against the run in the middle, their interior D was a sieve last season. Bullough is a prototpye run stopper. It’s been a rough off-season for Bullough, but he ran a better than expected 4.78 40 at the combine and had one of the best bench sets from the linebackers (30 reps). Bullough looked even better at his pro day with a 4.69 40-time and a fluid performance in the linebacker drills. I thought he would be limited to a 3-4 ILB, but 4.69 is plenty fast enough to play the middle in a 4-3. Bullough’s game tape is excellent, he was the leader of one of the best defenses in the country and is a force vs the run. He shows good timing, the burst to stuff plays at the LOS and is a heavy hitter with better than expected range sideline to sideline. He struggles in coverage and is probably just a 2-down LB, but he can be a quality run-stuffer in base packages.

Round 6 (#183) – Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky (6’1, 254): One of my favorite late round players in the draft, Jackson is a throw-back MLB who is a big–time hitter and play-maker. He’s a step slow, but makes up for it with great instincts. He’s going to struggle in coverage so might only be a 2-down linebacker but he could be an elite run-stopper by the end of his rookie year.

Round 6 (#191) – Jeremiah George, Iowa St (5’11, 234): Lacks ideal height, but has good strength (28 reps) and led the Big-12 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. George could learn for a year behind DJ Williams and I think he has the talent to take over in the middle in 2015.

UFA – James Morris, Iowa (6’2, 240): Underrated linebacker who is solid in all aspects of the game and was one of the most productive defenders in the Big Ten. Morris has 17 TFLs, 7 sacks, 4 INTs, and 106 tackles last season. He’s fundamentally sound and has no glaring weaknesses. I’m not sure why Morris is rated so low except that he’s a little undersized and has just average speed (4.78). 

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_

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