Identifying HITS players for Chicago Bears in 2023 NFL draft
One thing that we know about Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is that he values players who play by the HITS principles. HITS stands for Hustler, Intensity, Takeaways, and Smarts. While that typically applies to defense, we know that a lot of similar traits can show on the offensive side of the ball.
So, with the help of Dane Brugler, and his draft guide, I decided to see which players are defined by the HITS principle. Brugler is the most detailed analyst and has the best character reports. This is not an exact science, but it will be fun to look back and see if the Chicago Bears agreed with the assessment on any of the following players.
Finding Chicago Bears options in the 2023 NFL draft
The following players had a mention of their hustle in their draft profile:
Isaiah Foskey, KJ Henry, Eku Leota, Siaki Ika, Zacch Pickens, Jalen Redmond, Riley Moss
Some of these players have been discussed heavily by us. Isaiah Foskey is a great fit in round two and would be the hustle guy we have mentioned, and KJ Henry is someone we singled out on day three as a hustle player.
The names to keep an eye on are Ika, Pickens, and Redmond. Ika is a nose tackle, and some wonder about his weight, so it is important to hear that his coaches rave about his hustle. Pickens did not live up to his prospect pedigree but could be a sleeper in this draft. Then, there is Redmond. He had the most disappointing career, but based on his play style, and his athletic testing he could be in the mix on day three if they cannot address three-technique earlier.
The following players had a mention of how intense they play in their draft profile:
Cody Mauch, Tyler Lacy, Nick Herbig, Cam Jones
You do not have to watch Cody Mauch at North Dakota State much before you see him play with intensity. The question is where on the offensive line does he line up? Nick Herbig played edge in college, but may move to linebacker, and Cam Jones is a day three linebacker. Tyler Lacy played up and down the Oklahoma State defensive line, and could be another day three option to rush both inside and outside.
These players were elite at takeaways and being near the ball in college:
Drew Sanders, Yasir Abdullah, Antonio Johnson, Zach Harrison, Nick Hampton, Diyan Henley, Clark Phillips, Emmanuel Forbes, Christian Gonzalez
We have talked about Zach Harrison, and how the Chicago Bears could get the most out of him, and he does find the football. Does this make Christian Gonzalez a real option at nine? Yasir Abdullah is another worth highlighting. He is a SAM type of linebacker who can also put his hand in the dirt and rush.
The following players were praised for their football smarts:
Jordan Addison, Puka Nacua, Mitchell Tinsley, Davis Allen, Peter Skoronski, Jordan McFadden, John Michael-Schmitz, Luke Wypler, Alan Ali, Deslin Alexandre, Byron Young, Jack Campbell, Shaka Heyward, Micah Bakersfield, DJ Turner, Cameron Mitchell, Kyu Blu Kelly, Kei'Trel Clark, Lance Boykin, Quan Martin, Jordan Battle, Marte Mapu, Sydney Brown, Kaevon Merriweather, Jordan Howden
For the smarts we have a long list of players. It is worth noting a lot of safeties get that tag, and the Chicago Bears will not draft that position in most cases.
Peter Skoronski, Jordan McFadden, John Michael-Schmitz, Luke Wypler, and Deslin Alexandre have been linked to the Chicago Bears, or at least interest was shown. Are they weighing the smarts of these players to see how strong of a scheme fit each one is?