Chicago Bears Round 2 – Best Available Players
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska
A natural pass-rusher who has all the tools to be a double-digit sack guy in the NFL right away. Gregory already has 2-3 polished pass rush moves and has the instincts to know when to use them. He has a quick first step, has shown the ability to shed blocks and can run down QBs in pursuit. Gregory moves like a wide receiver with the agility to dodge blockers, doesn’t lose speed when he changes direction, and has the long arms to keep separation and disengage when he can’t avoid blocks. He also has the awareness to get his hands in passing lanes and batted down 4 passes last season. As a pass rusher Gregory is the total package.
Gregory has a recent red flag with an admitted failure of a drug test at the combine for marijuana. Failing a drug test at the combine when you know it’s coming and your NFL future depends on it… is a bad sign. When you consider that Gregory also couldn’t qualify academically out of high school, teams have to wonder about Gregory’s mental capacity not only to understand defensive schemes but to stay out of the NFL’s drug offender program. On the field the only significant weaknesses that Gregory has are the ability to keep weight on and being hold his ground against the run when teams go right at him.
There have been multiple comparisons of Gregory to Aldon Smith due to their length, explosion off the ball, natural pass rushing skills, and off-field question marks. Smith was the first pick for the Niners the year that Vic Fangio took over as their defensive coordinator (2011) and became the pass rushing motor for a defense that finished in the top 5 four years in a row. Could Fangio be looking for a similar player to rebuild the Bears defense around?
OLB Eli Harold, Virginia
Harold is quick off the edge with an explosive first step and surprising strength for his size. He is a versatile player, having played extensively from the defensive end position and as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Harold consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks with a solid repertoire of pass-rush moves. Against the run he showed good instincts, the pursuit skills to chase down opposing ball carriers and a non-stop motor.
Eli Harold lacks ideal bulk for the position. He’s around the ball a lot, but didn’t finish plays as often as he should and didn’t have impressive sack totals in college.
The Bears have a lot of depth at OLB, but no proven playmakers at the position. Harold would give the Bears another potentially dangerous option off the edge and could contribute right away on passing downs at least.