Chicago Bears — The Matt Eberflus way
I left part one off with a Detroit Lions comment that might leave you questioning the Chicago Bears. Why didn't the Chicago Bears do what the Lions did that year and attack the edge defenders? Follow the money and follow the draft class. The Chicago Bears, under Matt Eberflus, traded away Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, then drafted one defensive end and three defensive tackles in two years.
Look back at the Indianapolis Colts when Eberflus was the defensive coordinator. Heck, listen to coach Eberflus when he talks. He values the slot cornerback, weak side linebacker, and defensive tackle positions in this defensive scheme. The Colts had these players under Eberflus on the defensive line:
- Deforest Buckner, DT, signed a four-year contract in 2020 to play 3T
- Grover Stewart, DT, drafted before Eberflus, moved to NT when acquired Buckner
- Al-Quadin Muhammed, EDGE, was picked up by Colts in 2018 to play edge
- Justin Houston, EDGE, signed a two-year contract in 2021
- Denico Autry, DT, signed a three-year contract in 2018 to play the 3T, moved to EDGE when acquired Buckner.
- Jabaal Sheard, EDGE, older player that wasn't on the team after 2018.
- Al Woods, DT, older player that wasn't on the team after 2018.
- Margus Hunt, DT, older player that wasn't on the team after 2018.
Will the Chicago Bears build a defense similar to the Colts?
Why does all of that matter for the Chicago Bears draft class? Follow the history. Outside of Justin Houston, who was signed when he was 30, who else did the Colts attack on the edge? Matt Eberflus focused more on the interior; even when that player (Denico Autry) was no longer used inside, he moved them to the outside. Autry went to the Tennesse Titans to play that Hybrid edge defender with DeMarcus Walker. Autry played well, with nine sacks in 2021 and eight in 2022.