2016 East West Shrine Game Recap (Defense)

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Outside Linebacker:

The Bears got decent production out of the combination of McPhee, Young, and Houston when they were healthy, but all three of those pass rushers utilize power more than speed. The Bears could really use an explosive presence off the edge even if it’s just on passing downs. There were two players who stood out to me during the Shrine game that could possibly fill that role with a mid-to-late round draft pick.

Victor Ochi, Stony Brook – Was by far the best pass rusher during the Shrine Game, spending most of the day in the backfield no matter who tried to block him. Ochi is so quick off the ball that he often beat the tackle to the edge before they were even set up. He’s played against small school competition in the Colonial Conference, but he dominated with 13 sacks last season.

Ochi is a bit of a tweener in the NFL due to his lack of height (6’1 | 245) but has abnormally long arms for his size (33.5″) which allow him to play bigger. I think Ochi’s best position might be as a designated pass rusher as either an OLB in a 3-4 or as a 4-3 DE. His explosion off the line is elite and should translate well at the next level. Ochi helped his draft stock more than anyone at the Shrine game, but should still be a day 3 draft pick and potentially a great value for the Bears.

James Cowser, Southern Utah – Broke some of Jared Allen’s records in the Big Sky which is ironic as Allen is the player that Cowser is most often compared too. He’s a bit undersized for a 4-3 DE (6’3 | 250) and has no experience playing in a 3-4, but may have the speed (4.68) and burst to play the stand-up, OLB position in the Bears scheme. Cowser is quick off the ball which helped him rack up 22.5 sacks and 45 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.

He’s got a great motor, natural football awareness, and uses his hands very well to disengage from tackles. I’m not sure if he can handle the minimal coverage responsibilities as an OLB in Fangio’s scheme, but Cowser has the potential to be a dangerous pass rusher.