More players the Chicago Bears could target.
Julian Okwara broke his left fibula his senior years against a lesser talented team. He never got to do anything that involved running or jumping at the combine and was not at the Senior Bowl. He was never a double-digit sack producer. Yet, Okwara has something all edge defenders need, versatility.
For all of the Leonard Floyd supporters, this is your guy. The difference is, in my best Matt Stellar voice, “This man can play.” Floyd was a sound outside linebacker in college that could blitz to create pressure and sack production. Okwara is a defensive end who can pass rush with moves and drop into coverage. Yes, there is a difference.
While Floyd learned how to convert speed to power last year, Okwara already knows how to do that. Okwara comes with a few more pass moves to put offensive tackles in a bind. A defensive star on the Chicago Bears broke his leg his senior year and fell to the fourth round. Okwara is a mid-second to early third-round projection.
If it were me with the importance of the position, I would run to the podium if Okwara was still available with the Chicago Bears 43rd or 50th overall selection.
Laviska Shenault Jr.
One of the more explosive receivers in the 2020 NFL draft, Laviska Shenault Jr. ran a 4.58 40-yard dash. Many expected him to run in the 4.4x range. It was later determined that Shenault had a core injury and would get surgery after the combine. Shenault also had surgery on his labrum and toe before the season began last season. He shows excellent acceleration and hands but needs to work on his route running.
A big potentially fast receiver who looks the part of a running back once the ball is in his hand is much like Cordarrelle Patterson. PFF has Shenault compared to Saquon Barkley. Shenault is projected to be between late round one and early round three. He could be the juice the Chicago Bears have been looking for in a younger body. If he falls to the Bears, it would be hard to pass up such a talent unless something else more appealing is available.
Bryce Hall was that typical zone corner that locked on the eyes of the quarterback and wide receiver to identify route concepts. During his senior year, he broke his ankle and was unable to participate in the Senior Bowl and NFL combine. Hall had seemed to have figured it out his junior year racking up 62 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, and 21 pass defends.
The last time the Chicago Bears drafted a corner with a similar scouting report, they found Kyle Fuller. Fuller wasn’t the fastest corner in his draft class but was one of the better read and react corners in the draft. Like Fuller, Hall is a willing tackler even though he hasn’t shown he is the best at it.
Both were limited man coverage corners and had a short choppy backpedal to allow them to break quickly on quick passes and break them up. Giving up separation at the top of the route is something both corners have lacked in college, but having Eddie Jackson over the top limits the big plays that could happen. Hall is projected between rounds two and round four. The idea of pairing Kyle Fuller up with a clone of him could be a dream in the making.