Many fans and media members were concerned when the Bears took Leonard Floyd in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. Would the price they paid to get him be worth it? Could he be the star that they hoped he would be (and for the price they paid) or would he be a washout?
For the Bear’s defense, the 2015 campaign was a bit of a disaster. They didn’t have the talent to compete with a lot of the teams they faced in 2015. Chicago often found themselves in situations that called for a big play, pressure on the quarterback or a critical sack that could have helped them win. These plays didn’t happen due to lack of talent or execution so the Bears lost a lot of games.
It was head coach John Fox’s first season and he brought the Bears a “gift”. For the first time in their long and storied history, Chicago would use the 3-4 as their base defense. Fans only knew the 4-3 as the Bears base defense and would now look forward to something new. Would it work? Would it help them win more games?
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In order to operate the 3-4, you need personnel that can play in it. This really means you need good outside linebackers. Chicago went after one of the best at the time in 2015. That player was Pernell McPhee. They landed him and were seemingly set at one of the outside linebacker spots.
McPhee spent a great deal of time on injury driven snap counts last season (coupled with missing some games). The coaching staff realized they needed someone to compliment him when he was on the field and pick up when he was off of it. Chicago needed to bring in someone else to help rush the passer and get results.
Media experts predicted that the Bears would draft a pass rushing linebacker or 3-4 defensive end with their first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. A lot of names were thrown around. The Bears really didn’t tip their hat too much as to what they were going to do but it was obvious defense was the target.