Chicago Bears 2015 Draft Prospects : Outside Linebacker

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Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

3.) Eric Striker, Oklahoma JR

Attributes – 6’0, 225, 4.58

Scouting report – Another undersized college LB who may have to change positions at the next level. Striker plays bigger than he’s listed and a position change shouldn’t be an issue as he played all over the field for the Sooners defense. He has a lightning quick first step and gets off the line so fast it looks like he is offsides. Striker is a dangerous pass rusher with the natural ability to dip and get almost parallel to the ground coming off the edge. He should be an excellent blitzer, solid against the run, and good in coverage though he will struggle against tall targets. The biggest knocks on Striker are his weight and strength, he’s going to get swallowed up by NFL-sized blockers. It’s possible a team could look to move Striker to strong safety, but I’m not sure he has the speed for it and that takes him farther from the QB negating his best attribute. Wherever he ends up, Striker has elite pass rush ability, good instincts and is a natural football player who can be effective at multiple positions. His best position is probably as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but I think he can play on the weak side in a 4-3 as well.

NFL comparison – Von Miller

Projection – 3rd round

4.) Jordan Hicks, Texas SR

Attributes – 6’2. 238, 4.72

Scouting report – A former 5-star recruit whose production has been limited by injuries for most of his college career. Finally healthy this year, Hicks has played up to his immense potential. He is the total package with the strength to stop the run, natural pass rush moves, and enough athleticism to cover down field. Injury concerns will keep Hicks from being drafted where his talent and potential would normally dictate, but some team could get a steal on day 2.

NFL comparison – Jaime Collins

Projection: 3rd-4th round

5.) Jake Ryan, Michigan SR

Attributes – 6’3, 235, 4.68

Scouting report – Doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism, but his football instincts are so good that he plays quicker than his 40-time. Ryan plays inside at Michigan, but doesn’t have the size or strength to take on NFL interior lineman. Ryan played outside for two years in college and was more productive, so the switch shouldn’t be an issue. Ryan’s best position at the next level is as a strong-side LB in a 4-3 scheme. Currently the Bears are playing Shea McClellin at SLB so they could clearly use an upgrade.

Ryan is a force against the run with proper tackling technique and good power. He’s also an instinctive blitzer, shows elite play recognition, and the ability to shed blocks. One major knock on Ryan is his ability to cover TEs and RBs in space. He’s not very fluid in coverage which could limit Ryan to a 2-down LB role at least initially. Overall his top-notch intangibles should make up for any physical limitations and I could see Ryan having a long productive career in the NFL.

Projection – 3rd-4th round