Should Chicago Bears draft Zach Harrison in 2023 NFL Draft?

Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Chicago Bears need defensive line help in the 2023 NFL draft. Is Ohio State pass rusher Zach Harrison a hidden gem? When should the Chicago Bears consider drafting him and who is his NFL comparison?

Chicago Bears draft profile: Ohio State edge rusher Zach Harrison

Zach Harrison played sparingly as a freshman but then jumped into a role in 2020. He had 22 pressures on 144 pass rush attempts, and many saw him taking a big jump like the Bosa brothers or Chase Young. However, that did not happen in 2021. He moved up to 27 pressures, but he had 299 pass rush attempts.

Then, in 2022, he improved to 33 pressures despite dropping to 255 rush attempts. Still, it was not quite that breakout so many saw coming. He went to the NFL combine but was injured and decided to work out at his Pro Day.

How Zach Harrison translates to the NFL

When he steps off of the bus, he looks like an NFL player. He looks like he could be the next Chase Young. His arms are extremely long, and he creates a lot of his power by being able to strike first and long arm his opponents. He knows how to use power well.

However, he never developed more of a pass-rush plan and is still limited overall with his hands. Beyond that, you rarely see him bend the edge. You can see that he is athletic but is much more straight-line, and you do not see him bend, or change direction nearly as well.

In the NFL there is a possibility that his physical and athletic abilities can be unlocked. However, for now, he should be viewed as a rotational edge who can get push in the run game but struggles to create juice as a pass rusher consistently.

NFL Comparison for Zach Harrison

The best NFL comparison for Zach Harrison is Emmanuel Ogbah. They both have similar athletic and physical profiles. Ogbah had many of the same things said about him when he came out of college. Ogbah had the look and potential but relied solely on his long arm and did not have much of a pass-rush plan. He also did not have that bend to make him a speed rusher off the edge.

He never added more, but his strengths have kept him in the NFL as a rotational rusher. Emanuel Ogbah plays hard and can get on the field for early downs because he is trusted against the run. This feels like a good outcome for Zach Harrison.

Should Chicago Bears draft Zach Harrison?

Zach Harrison is projected to go in the late third or early fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft. This is when the Chicago Bears need to attack the position with depth. If Harrison can get on the field next season because he can defend the run, he is a great fourth-round pick. Anything on top of that is gravy.

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The upside is great, but the Chicago Bears need bodies, so in the fourth round it is definitely a player they have to consider.