Chicago Bears Draft Profile: LB John Timu

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Smart, instinctive player who makes up for his lack of elite speed by reading plays accurately and understanding where the ball is going. Timu navigates very well in traffic with a strong punch to keep lineman off of him and the ability to shed blockers and take down the ball carrier. He is very effective between the hashes and may be one of the better run stopping ILBs on the Bears already. His tackling technique is outstanding and he rarely misses tackles, though isn’t considered a big hitter.

Timu is also very strong in zone coverage. He’s a former high school QB and seems to have an innate ability to read opposing QB’s eyes and make plays on the ball in short-zone coverage. Timu also has better than average hands which resulted in 6 INTs in his college career. A two-time team captain, Timu was the leader of a very good Huskies defense (3 1st round picks in 2014) and his ability to read opposing formations and react accordingly could have a lot of value for a Bears team without much experience in a 3-4 scheme.


If Timu ran in the 4.5-4.6 range he wouldn’t have made it past day 2 without being drafted, but he didn’t and his lack of speed will always be an issue. He doesn’t have the burst to get the sidelines or chase down quick backs or QBs. His elite instincts allow him to play faster than his timed speed (4.80), but Timu will struggle at the NFL level to tackle quick RBs in the open field. He’s very good in zone coverage, but covering fast TEs in the slot may be a problem for Timu. He doesn’t change directions quickly either which could be exposed more at the next level.

Bears Fit:

A lot could change before the season starts, but right now Jon Bostic and Mason Foster appear to be the favorites to start the season as the Bears primary ILBs. Promising 2nd-year player Christian Jones, the consistently disappointing Shea McClellin, and the relatively unknown DeDe Lattimore are also in the mix for ILB snaps so there doesn’t seem to be much room to Timu to crack the final 53-man roster. The odds are certainly stacked against Timu, but his experience in a 3-4, elite instincts, and solid work ethic give him a shot to earn a backup ILB role. It will probably come down to special teams. The Bears ST unit was really bad last season and if Timu can be a force on coverage teams he could earn a roster spot and eventually work his way into defensive snaps at ILB. New HC John Fox has mentioned the need to improve the leadership in the locker room which bodes well for a natural leader like Timu.


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