Chicago Bears make this prospect first of many visits to Halas Hall

Chicago Bears - Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears will have 30 pre-draft visits to Halas Hall where they get to show the prospects around and see how they fit would fit in the facility. It is a good way for teams to bring in players that they have an interest in and get to know the person to help them pin down exactly who to draft. So, while the Bears may not draft Chigoziem Okonkwo it is notable that he is the first player of the 30 that have been reported to visit Halas Hall.

Who is Chigoziem Okonkwo?

Chigoziem Okonkwo was a tight end at the University of Maryland. He got on the field as a true freshman and ascended during his second year. Unfortunately, a heart issue caused him to sit out during his junior year. Still, Okonkwo came back for his senior year and got his draft stock back on track.

There is a good chance that the Chicago Bears are bringing in Okonkwo to get more information on his health, and how he dealt with the year off. Below you can see his career statistics.

Receiving & Rushing Table

Thanks to MockDraftable, we can view the spider web for Chigoziem Okonkwo and find out how he compares to other tight ends who participated in the NFL combine during past years.

Chigoziem Okonkwo is a bit undersized for the tight end position. His arm length is below average as well. Still, his goal at the NFL combine was to show that he is an athlete despite the limitations and he did just that.

Chigoziem Okonkwo had a well-above-average jump and truly elite 40-yard dash for his weight.

How Chigoziem Okonkwo will translate to the NFL

Chigoziem Okonkwo is a player who would be used as a move tight end in the NFL. He is fast with the ball in his hands, and he can motion, catch the ball in the flats and take off to the races. His best attribute would be his ability with the ball in his hands. Okonkwo also does a great jump of splitting the seams with his speed. He is an adequate enough route runner that you can trust him in all areas of the field.

Where Chigoziem Okonkwo might struggle in the NFL

Chigoziem Okonkwo has short arms, and it shows in his ability to stick to defenders on blocks. Defenders usually can get into his chest first, and especially when he is lined up in-line, he can get knocked off pretty quickly. Chigoziem Okonkwo mostly has to be schemed not only in his touches but also in how he is used as a blocker. Most teams will want to use his motion, more like an h-back, and let him get a start to generate force while running at defenders. His routes can work, but he mostly was used in screens, and as a player who ran straight down the middle of the field. His role is limited in the NFL as an H-back/move tight end with a limited ceiling in that role.

NFL comparison for Chigoziem Okonkwo

The athletic testing of the 40-yard dash is great, and that is what got the attention from a national crowd. Still, when you combine his length and his height for the position you realize that even for his speed, the NFL has seen his type.

A player with similar attributes to be the best NFL comparison for Chigoziem Okonkwo is Noah Gray. Below you can see how they compare, thanks to RAS scores. They are very similar across the board.

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Noah Gray came into the NFL as recently as last season, so we are not sure how he will translate but he did get on the field for seven catches during his rookie year on the Chiefs.

Gray is in a role that you could see Chigoziem Okonkwo playing during his rookie season. He was often a third tight end who can motion off of the line of scrimmage, and into the backfield. He can also create after the catch which allows a reliable dump-off option on top of a pre-snap identifying chess piece.

Should the Chicago Bears draft Chigoziem Okonkwo?

While the Chicago Bears have two tight ends in Cole Kmet and Jesper Horsted, they will need a third to carry on their 53-man roster and currently have no one. Noah Gray was a third end as a rookie with the Chiefs, and Chigoziem Okonkwo would see a similar role with the Bears.

As a complement to Cole Kmet, you could compare Chigoziem Okonkwo much more favorably to Trey Burton, hopefully without the injuries. Still, the ability to motion and create matchups, the questionable blocking, and the receiving ability that still had to be schemed open is what the Bears saw with Trey Burton.

To be fair, if Burton could stay healthy that role is valuable in an offense. If Chigoziem Okonkwo could fill a Trey Burton role, he would be worth a pick.

The lack of size and length for Gray had him fall into the fifth round, and Grinding the Mocks sees Chigoziem Okonkwo as a sixth-round pick this year. The Chicago Bears could use a sixth-round pick knowing that he would make the roster as a third tight end, and that his role could grow.

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It makes sense that the Bears would have interest but also that they would want to bring him in to discuss his role and his missed 2020 season due to health concerns.