Should Chicago Bears draft Texas DL Keondre Coburn?
The Chicago Bears are going to need to add defensive line help in the NFL draft. A lot of people have centered around the 3-technique, but they need to beef up the nose tackle role as well. Keondre Coburn may be one of the best true 0-1 technique options in the 2023 NFL draft. What does he bring to the NFL, and when should the Chicago Bears consider drafting Keondre Coburn?
Chicago Bears Draft Profile: Keondre Coburn, DL, Texas
Keondre Coburn redshirted as a freshman, then went on to start four straight years for the Longhorns. He had been reliable, but last season he really broke out. Coburn posed 60 pressures in four seasons, and 31 of them came in 2022. He also had 14 run stops, which was the second-best rate of his career.
For his career, Coburn has 1,684 snaps, with 764 coming in the A-gap. He played at the Shrine Bowl, showed off for NFL scouts, and also competed at the NFL combine. Below you can see his athletic profile.
Sometimes you can glance at a player's height and weight and athletic profile and understand pretty clearly who they are. Corburn is short but thick. He does not move well, but teams are not going to ask him to do that in the NFL anyways.
Where Keondre Coburn fits in the NFL
His profile can be explained rather easily. He is a nose tackle. The fact that he does not move well and or test like an elite athlete should not take away from what he does. The lack of height may be for the better, because the combination pushes him low to the ground, and gives him the leverage advantage.
Coburn has limited pass rushing skills, but last season we actually saw him create some push upfront.
In the NFL, it is hard to see teams asking him to get that type of push too often. He will mainly be plugged right above the center, and asked to plant his feet so that runs cannot come his way, and quarterbacks cannot step up into the pocket.
Still, it is good to know that there is a little more upside. He is not an every-down player, and will not be asked to do much outside of his role, but every team needs one guy like Keondre Coburn.
NFL Comparison for Keondre Coburn
The best NFL comparison for Texas defensive lineman Keondre Coburn would be Justin Ellis. Below you can see how they stack up physically.
This is why you do not need to worry about athletic testing when it comes to Coburn. At his position being short and above average in weight is not an issue. He comes into the NFL more athletic than Ellis, who is still in the NFL after being a fourth-round pick a decade ago.
He has a specific role and teams have needed it throughout his career. If Coburn can play up to his profile in college, he could have a long NFL career in the same way that Justin Ellis did.
Should Chicago Bears have interest in Keondre Coburn in 2023 NFL draft?
Based on the way the Chicago Bears handled this offseason, they need to be looking at the defensive line. At the three-technique, you could see Armon Watts and Justin Jones. The Bears signed Andrew Billings, who would be the one technique next to those two. So, they would like to upgrade at the 3-tech, but they legitimately need a nose tackle still.
Keondre Coburn will not get drafted until the fourth round because he lacks upside as a pass rusher, and is a role player. Still, the Chicago Bears need his role, and should be looking to him as a huge run stuffer they could draft on Day three of the NFL draft.