Our Chicago Bears reporter breaks down the team’s prospective prospects for the NFL draft, which takes place from April 25-27. Read the previous scouting reports here.
By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
It is officially draft week and NFL fans are getting excited for the hope that the 2019 NFL Draft could bring, as are the hundreds of prospects hoping to have their names called by NFL officials this week.
Among the latter group are future starters, pro bowlers, all pros, game changing superstars, and of course, the busts. A lot of work goes into scouting tons and tons of players but even with that information, all selections are a gamble.
Looking at the Bears, they are a team with no obvious needs. A team without obvious needs is in a great position but the pressure to pick good players is still extremely high, because coming up empty in any draft puts a franchise in reverse rather than moving forward. Since the Bears do not have to target specific positions, they can build their depth or draft guys that can become eventual starters down the road when expensive veterans go elsewhere.
Even strong position groupings might be areas where the Bears target prospects. For example, the offensive line is a very solid group and played above average to good all season long. The group has been pretty durable as well with only guard Kyle Long missing substantial time due to injury.
Losing Long last year was a blow because of how good he is when he is playing and maybe the Bears want a talented prospect for insurance. David Edwards, a tackle from Wisconsin who grew up in Downers Grove, is an offensive lineman the Bears may select. Edwards is an interesting prospect that went from high school quarterback to tight end his freshman then settling in at right tackle.
Edwards is still a somewhat raw prospect that started the draft process towards the middle or bottom of the draft but he has continued to rise and may go as high as the second round. The offensive tackle has question marks but it looks like he has the upside that teams will covet.
Lets take a deeper look at the local kid that may get the chance to play for his hometown team.
- 40 yard dash 5.28 – (Twentieth out of all offensive lineman)
- Bench press – DNP
- Vert Jump – 25.5” (Tied sixteenth out of all offensive lineman)
- Broad Jump – 8’3” (Twentieth out of all offensive lineman)
- 3 cone drill 7.69 – (Tied ninth out of all offensive lineman)
- 20 yard shuttle 4.77 – (Sixteenth out of all offensive lineman)
- 60 yard shuttle – DNP
- Uses his long arms and extends into opposition
- Recognizes best angles up to second level
- Agility to alter body positioning in space
- Has potential to stick and slide after engagement
- Needs to add strength and get into a NFL weight room
- Raw prospect that needs more technique work
- Chronic waist-bender who falls off drive blocks
- Defaults to maul mode over technique in recovery
Fit with the Bears:
Many mock drafts have Edwards going around the 87th pick, which the Bears own in the upcoming draft and is currently their first pick in this year’s draft.
The offensive tackle has shown the ability to handle multiple positions and many teams feel his best ball is still ahead of him, he will benefit immediately from being in an NFL locker room and he will need a great technician at offensive line coach.
Harry Hiestand, the Bears’ offensive line coach, is that technician that can make Edwards a better player. Hiestand has done great work for the Bears and certainly increased the level of play of the group and produced two pro bowlers. Edwards played right tackle at Wisconsin but its possible that he may move to the guard position and teams will value his versatility.
Bradley Sowell is the swing tackle for Chicago currently and his athleticism is used in many ways, even to score touchdowns, but Edwards could be an upgrade potentially. Any upgrade in talent is critical especially since its not realistic to expect the entire offensive line group to stay healthy all year long again. Usually teams will get a lucky year where injuries are surprisingly limited.
The Bears had that type of season last year and hopefully it can be repeated in 2019, but even the confident front office must be wary of the possibility of disaster. Losing multiple offensive lineman is one of the most effective ways to derail a team’s season.
If Edwards is the pick for the Bears and even though he likely won’t start, the pick would be coveted insurance on top of being a projected starter in the near future. Remember, having great line play is almost as crucial as the quarterback position and every team should make sure to reinforce the offensive line to be as strong as possible.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR