When Tommie Harris suffered a severe hamstring tear late in the 2006 season, the Bears were never able to adequately replace him in their Super Bowl run or thereafter.
Harris never returned to full strength or full speed from his injury the following season.
“Any time you lose a player with the unique abilities of Tommie Harris, it’s a setback because there just aren’t a lot of guys like that,” former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told Reuters. ‘era.
Over the next few years, the Bears turned Henry Melton into a technical three-man defensive tackle and had decent success, but never at the level Harris achieved.
Fast forward a decade after they stopped using Lovie Smith’s Cover Style 2 and they’re back at it.
So they need a three-way technique, the defensive tackle lining up on the outside shoulder of the guard and shooting the gap. This is one of three key positions in the scheme mentioned by new coach Matt Eberflus. The other two are cornerback and weak side or linebacker Will.
Under Matt Nagy and John Fox, they haven’t played a pattern like the 4-3 they’ve used before, but that doesn’t mean some of the existing 3-4 defensive linemen lack the qualities to be technical threes. .
Unrestricted free agent Bilal Nichols has some of the qualities, but first he needs his second contract with the Bears. They could also be looking for unrestricted free agency to find one.
There are three potential techniques in the draft and some of them practice this week in the Senior Bowl. Here are the defensive tackle candidates training.
National team defensive tackles
Travis Jones, Connecticut
A nose tackle and defensive tackle, built more along the lines of current Bears defensive linemen at 6-foot-5, 333 pounds and more suited to the nose or 3-4 end like Akiem Hicks. Jones came from a program that produced more and more NFL players. He’s fast and powerful, but needs technical refinement according to the NFL Draft Bible. They ranked him the 10th-best inside defensive lineman in the draft and consider him a late-round pick.
Haskell Garrett, Ohio State
At 6-2, 300, he’s more along the lines of classic size for a technical three, although he lacks a bit of lower-body strength according to NFLDB. He played three techniques for the Buckeyes and finished his college career with 10 tackles, 2 1/2 for loss. Due to his perceived need for lower body strength, he is considered the 13th best IDL in the draft by the NFLDB.
Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA
Good size (6-4, 320) and strength, and NFLDB notes his ability to split double teams with a nice swimming stroke. They see him overall as lacking speed on the ball. This shows in his inability to finish the rushes. NFLDB sees a player with average “lower body flexibility”. He had 4 1/2 sacks and 8 1/2 tackles for loss in his four seasons. He has a good knack for using his size and reach to knock down passes as he has had six pass breakups. Mathis is the kind of player any team loves because he’s an outstanding citizen and team leader, but he’ll probably fit better in a 3-4 because his strength is control of the difference. Ranked sixth-best interior defensive line prospect by NFLDB.
Team USA Defensive Tackles
Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
A player who sometimes shows the ability to dominate but doesn’t consistently hit that high mark as a 6-4 and 320 pounds. He’s more of a defensive end in the 3-4, but he has some ability to fill gaps and be a technical three. He has great power and a great ability to take on double teams, which translates well into a 3-4 defense. NFL Draft Bible sees a lack of explosiveness and a “below average bull rush.”
John Ridgeway III, Arkansas
Another Illinois interior defensive lineman, he played four years at ISU after playing high school ball in Bloomington, Illinois. for him as a three-way technique because of its power and speed, and the kind of quickness it takes to shoot gaps. Made three sacks and 12 tackles for the loss in his career.
Zachary Carter, Florida
Tweener weights at 285 pounds, he’s 6-foot-4, so there are some who think his best fit is a 4-3 sleeve. He moved between finishing and tackle in college, so some teams might like his versatility. NFL Draft Bible considers him the seventh-best interior defensive lineman in the draft. He pulls gaps well using his speed but his lack of strength hinders the use of his hand and speed is also a strength. Highly productive, he finished college with 17 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.
Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
A potential starter in the NFL with three techniques and the fourth best interior defensive lineman in this draft, but only the third best on his own defensive line, according to NFLDB. At 6-3, 315, he has the most coveted quality for a three-man technique and it’s a very quick first step. He’s a good size for a defensive tackle and produces “splatter plays,” according to NFLDB. Consistency is lacking, however, and he’s only had five sacks and 12 tackles for loss in four years. NFLDB suggests he will be a situational player, but again, that’s how many players are used on the line now. His inability to anchor well against double teams and his high level of padding make him a better fit in the 4-3 than in the 3-4. .
Neil Farrel Jr., LSU
An underachiever considering his ideal weight and height, but NFLDB attributes that to his “very short” arms. He has the ability to penetrate and explode in a way that allows him to stack blockers, but he lacks the athleticism to finish many plays. He is only considered the 30th best inside defensive lineman due to his lack of impact plays.
Twitter: [email protected]