Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears inside linebacker DeDe Lattimore (96) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears offseason is in full swing as we head toward the start of the new league year and Free Agency. As a part of our Chicago Bears Roster Review, we’re leading off by looking at Bears Free Agents. New GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have some tough decisions to make as they reshape the Bears roster in hopes of a bounceback 2015 season.
DeDe Lattimore, Inside Linebacker, Age 24 – Exclusive-Rights Free Agent
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DeDe Lattimore was signed as an undrafted free agent last year and spent some time on both the practice squad and on the 53 man roster. Last season, he played in 10 games and was credited with 5 special teams tackles. The Bears signed Lattimore to a two-year extension on January 30th so he must have done something right for the Bears new General Manager and Coaching Staff to retain his services.
According to Dane Brugler of nfldraftscout.com, Lattimore was one of the top middle linebacker prospects in the draft. He led South Florida in tackles in 2013 and his competitive motor shows on tape. He is physical at the point of attack and fills hard against the run.
We didn’t see much out of Lattimore last season, at least not outside his role on special teams. I am assuming Bears General Manager Ryan Pace sees something in Lattimore that he values in a player. Or, is he just signing Lattimore to be another warm training camp body. DeDe Lattimore will be a player to watch when Training Camp begins in July.
The Bears have a long way to go before we see the direction they are going with their roster. The biggest question mark is how are they going to fill the needs they have on the defensive side of the ball especially with them now switching to a 3-4 base package. One glaring need is linebacker, and retaining DeDe Lattimore is a small piece to a much larger puzzle that the Bears are putting together. Too bad we don’t know what that puzzle will look like until after the draft at the end of April. Good thing we have the start of free agency beginning on March 10th.
Who do you think the Bears should target in Free Agency? Let us know in the comments section below. Make sure you keep checking back with us for all our analysis on who is available and who might fit the Bears new 3-4 scheme.