Chicago Bears – UFA Targets

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DT Anthony Johnson, LSU (6’2, 308): I was disappointed with Johnson’s lack of athleticism at the combine. He finished near the bottom of the D-lineman group in most drills and just didn’t look like he cared all that much out there. On tape, he looks like an intriguing mix of power and quickness, though his poor combine performance and mediocre production in college (3 sacks) could drop him to the late rounds.

RB Isaiah Crowell, Jackson St (5’11, 224): Crowell is one of the most talented running backs in this year’s draft class. He was the SEC freshman of the year at Georgia in 2011 (850 yards, 5 touchdowns) before transferring to Alabama St and averaging just under 7 yards per carry over two seasons. Crowell has good size, vision, elite elusiveness, soft hands out of the backfield and the speed to break one once he reaches the second level. Crowell has some red flags as well; He was forced to leave Georgia after a felony gun charge (dropped), a failed drug test (marijuana), and also has a checkered medical history with no serious injuries but a few missed games. If having a gun in your car and smoking weed were deal-breakers, then most NFL teams wouldn’t be able to fill a 53-man roster. Crowell also wasn’t asked to block much at the college level so that is something teams will have to vet before drafting him. Crowell is a risky choice, but one of the best talents you will ever see in the 6th round.

TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon (6’5, 250): Troubled tight-end who left Oregon during the season for “personal reasons” and then got arrested for cocaine possession. Lyerla has legitimate first round talent, but concern about his maturity and off-field problems could keep him out of the draft all together. If he can get his head on straight he could be an All-Pro. If not he could be out of the league in a year or two. It’s a big gamble. Lyerla impressed physically at the combine finishing near the top in every workout except the bench, but most rumors about his interviews were negative.

C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma (6’4, 304): Extremely smart, takes good blocking angles, elite short-area quickness, charismatic, natural leader… Everything is good about this kid except for his lack of functional strength (20 reps). Once he gets stronger I think he’s going to be a starting center in the NFL for a long time.

TE Jake Murphy, Utah (6’4, 254): Well rounded tight end who can block, run good routes, has soft hands, decent speed (4.79) and is tough to bring down after he catches the ball. He’s Hall of Famer Dale Murphy’s son, but he reminds me more of a poor man’s Heath Miller.

 WR Austin Franklin, New Mexico St (5’11, 189): Franklin is very quick with good acceleration and elite elusiveness after the catch. He could develop into a weapon over the middle on short routes that he can turn into long gains.

QB Casey Pachall, TCU (6’4, 216): He’s the Colt Lyerla of draft eligible QBs this year. That comparison might be a little extreme since Pachall didn’t actually quit on his team after a drunk driving incident, but did spend time in alcohol and substance abuse rehab before rejoining the team. Pachall came back in 2013 but broke his non-throwing arm in week 2 of the season and struggled when he returned later with a 6 TD / 10 INT ratio. Pachall did have one great game that gave a glimpse of what he can do when healthy and focused, completing 40 of 58 passes for 394 yards and 3 TDs against West Virginia. Granted West Virginia’s defense was pretty bad, but before getting in trouble Pachall was dominant in 2012; he had a 38 TDs / 7 INT ratio, led the NCAA in passing efficiency and was projected to be no later than a day 2 pick when he entered the draft. He has prototype QB size, a cannon arm, good accuracy and the moxie and leadership (on the field at least) that you look for in a QB.

DE Ethan Westbrooks, West Texas A&M  (6’3, 267): Dominant rusher at the DII level (46.5 TFLs, 26.5 sacks in two seasons) who had 2 sacks in the Shrine game against much better competition then he was used to. Westbrooks has a quick first step and a myriad of polished pass rush moves. His workouts at the combine were mediocre which will hurt his draft stock, but he is an intriguing prospect who could be drafted higher than expected due to his impressive game tape.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_