2016 East West Shrine Game Recap (Defense)

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Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /

Inside Linebacker:

ILB might be the biggest position of need on the Bears defense. They rotated players in and out of the position last season with no one really claiming the job. Some of the young players showed flashes, but none of them were balanced enough against both the run and pass. The Bears should be looking at both the draft and available free agents for upgrades at ILB. There were a couple of interesting late round ILB prospects at the Shrine game who could be on the Bears radar.

Travis Feeney, Washington – Was a missile on special teams during the Shrine game. Feeney had a couple of nice hits covering kick offs during the game and also flashed speed and instincts on defense. He did struggle to shed blocks at times, but when he could avoid blockers, he showed good pursuit and closing speed on ball carriers.

Feeney is aggressive against the run, fast enough (4.53) to cover backs, tall enough (6’4) to cover TEs, and could be a weapon on special teams. He’s most likely a day 3 draft pick, but could be a steal if he can get a little stronger (just 225 pounds).

Terrance Smith, Florida St – Didn’t do much during the Shrine game, but supposedly had a great week of practice. Smith is very similar to his former teammate Telvin Smith who was a 5th round steal by the Jags last season. Both Smiths are undersized, Terrance is (6’3 | 219) but has the speed to be a fit at ILB in the Bears scheme. He could also play the weakside in a 4-3 alignment, but for the Bears purposes Smith should be solid in coverage and has the range to be a sideline-to-sideline run stopper. He will have to improve his ability to shed blockers in traffic, but the talent is there to become a starting caliber ILB.