PERSONNEL NEWS

Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

A closer look at the Bears’ picks:

Round 1/8 – Roquan Smith, LB, 6-1, 236, Georgia

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio needed a Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman inside to run this defense effectively, especially after Danny Trevathan’s injury problems. A textbook tackling machine with great speed, Smith can blitz and cover. The question is how well Smith compensates in zone coverage for lack of height, but both Willis and Bowman were also 6-foot-1.

Round 2/39 – James Daniels, C/G, 6-3, 306, Iowa

A solid technician, though not overpowering, he excels at firing out and getting to the second level with his blocking. He played center, guard and even tackle at times, and will start out learning guard while taking some center snaps. Eventually settled in at center and was honorable mention All-Big Ten.

Round 2/51 – Anthony Miller, WR, 5-11, 201 Memphis

Known for advanced route-running and good hands, he is a college walk-on who ascended from the scout team to make 191 catches for 2,896 yards with 32 touchdowns during his final two seasons. He has the strength to play slot receiver and decent 40 speed (4.5) for outside, but is coming off a foot injury that kept him out of the Senior Bowl.

Round 4/115 – Joel Iyiegbuniwe, ILB, 6-1, 230, Western Kentucky

Played outside linebacker and inside in college with great speed, and projects with the Bears on the inside. He ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and over his final two college seasons made 21.5 tackles for loss. He’s also played extensively on kick and punt coverage teams.

Round 5/145 – Bilal Nichols, DT, 6-4, 306, Delaware

A potential 5-technique who last year also displayed enough pass rush to be considered for a 3-technique in the four-man pass rush.

Round 6/181 – Kylie Fitts, OLB, 6-4, 263, Utah

Played defensive end in a 4-3, and lacks pass coverage experience or rushing from a stand-up position. He will be a strong-side pass rusher in the Bears’ 3-4, behind Aaron Lynch. Injuries scared off some teams, no doubt as a foot injury cost Fitts 11 games in 2016. He made seven of his 11.5 career sacks as a sophomore.

Round 7/224 – Javon Wims, WR, 6-2, 215, Georgia

Wims is a hard-nosed runner once he makes the catch, and displays sure hands. He ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, but has had only one productive season so there are questions about his experience level. He’s coming off a sprained AC joint suffered in the national title game against Alabama and will compete against a crowded field for a roster spot that now includes Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Bennie Fowler, Anthony Miller, Josh Bellamy and Kevin White.

PLUG AND PLAY

LB Roquan Smith: With speed like Smith’s, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio might start blitzing the A-gap more to make up for the shortage of outside rushers. He really tackles the way it’s supposed to be done. There’s little doubt by the regular season he will either take Danny Trevathan’s job or move Nick Kwiatkoski to the bench.

WILL SURPRISE

WR Anthony Miller: A grinder, he understands leverage and other nuances of the game. He will get open against defenders who run two-tenths of a second faster in the 40. He could offer an alternative in the slot to smaller Taylor Gabriel, if they decide to go bigger on some matchups. If Kevin White fails or is injured again, Miller could quickly take his place in the receiver rotation.

WHAT THE HELL?

LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe: With their greatest need at outside pass rusher going into the draft, the Bears in Round 4 instead selected inside linebacker Iyiegbuniwe. They had already addressed inside linebacker in the first round with Raquon Smith. Iyiegbuniwe had been projected as a fifth- or sixth-round pick in most pre-draft analysis. The Bears now have Smith, Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski in the fold on the inside and “Iggy” as he is known. Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong and Florida State’s Josh Sweat were edge rushers still available at that point.

 

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