DT depth a concern for the Bears heading into camp

DT depth a concern for the Bears heading into camp
Behind starters Henry Melton and Matt Toeaina, there are a lot of question marks at the DT position.

The Bears, going into last season, had decent depth at the DT position. This season, however, you can’t really say the same thing. The Bears acquired Amobi Okoye last summer to help with starter Henry Melton in the 3-technique rotation, but lost him to the Bucs this off-season.  Right now, the Bears’ starters at the 3-technique DT and NT positions are Melton and Matt Toeaina.

Henry Melton came off a solid season for the Bears last year. Melton ranked 7th in Pro Football Focus DT pass rush rankings with 39 total pressures, 7.3 pass rush productivity average off 424 pass rush snaps. Toeaina became the full-time starter at NT after some shaky games from former Bears Anthony Adams, and he played the position well.

Behind those two guys are some veterans and young guys with question marks. Stephen Paea showed flashes in some games last year, but will need to show the coaches and front office some consistency in his 2nd year. What you want out of your high 2nd round pick by the end of training camp is for him to be the team’s starting NT. Toeaina is a serviceable player, but Paea is the more talented player of the two and needs to play up to his draft status in his 2nd year.

John McCargo was highly regarded coming into the 2006 draft by former Bills G.M. Marv Levy; so much so that he traded into the 1st round for the DT when he was projected as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. McCargo is an explosive athlete for the 3-tech. position, but there’s a reason why he started a total of one game going into his 7th season in the league.

The young guys, UDFA Ronnie Cameron and last year UDFA Jordan Miller are two guys who might be more talented than veteran pick-ups McCargo and Demario Pressely, but they lack the game experience the two vets have. Cameron is a pure 3-tech. in the Tampa-2 system because of his quickness off the snap and because he gets through his gap and make plays in the backfield.

Miller seems more suited at NT in the Tampa-2, but he’s another explosive athlete at the DT position. He has a good blend of strength and power that could make him a good NT in this league someday.

Looking at the DT depth chart as it is currently constructed; G.M. Phil Emery looks to be rolling the dice on young players (exception of McCargo and Pressley) with high ceilings. It’s a different approach from former G.M. Jerry Angelo who had established vets in Okoye and Adams behind starters Melton and Paea last year.

This group quite possibly can perform up to their potential and strengthen the depth at the position, or they can falter and leave the coaching staff scrambling around for solutions.  Either way, it is a position to keep a close eye on throughout the 2012 season.

Filed under: Players

Tags: Chicago Bears


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  • Anthony Adams anyone???

  • In reply to Alpha79:

    I think they are counting on Stephen Paea to fill Adams role at NT. IMO it will be disappointing if Paea is not the starting NT by the time preseason is over. He's a more talented player than Toeaina that can potentially bring more to the NT position in the tampa-2.

  • In reply to Dominique Blanton:

    I seriously believe the Bears plan on getting Izzy some snaps at the 3 tech position on some obvious passin downs. I know that's like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound but they (Lovie & co.) don't seem to be pressed about bringing in "quality", veteran DT help as of the moment.

  • or Tommie Harris.... I am not happy the Bears let a 24 yr old Okoye walk on a 1 year, 2 million dollar contract to the Bucs. Maybe there was more going on there than I know because the Bears spent way more coin on players that will not be in the starting rotation. If you look at the statistics, Okoye had a lot of production behind his more limited snaps...enough to start in this league.

    Personally, I'd like to Harris inked and scrap the rest of the group at this point. We will be drafting a DT next spring with one of out top 3 picks I think.

  • In reply to Mouser:

    I agree that they should have worked out something for Okoye especially when this year is their best shot to make a run at the Super Bowl. No thanks to Tommie Harris as he doesn't even got half the explosiveness that he had when he first enter the league.

    I'm intrigue with McCargo and Cameron filling that spot. McCargo always had potential, but never was better than the guy in front of him. He might be better off as a situational pass rusher than a full-time guy. Cameron I like more as a developmental player down the road.

  • http://t.co/W4Trhtni

    ...a great read for Bear fans.

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