Monday, June 10, 2024

Former Exec Pinpoints Chicago Bears Addition Not Getting Enough Attention


Plenty of additions to the Chicago Bears roster have gotten lots of attention. Kevin Byard and D’Andre Swift were big-name free agents. Keenan Allen arrived via trade. Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze were 1st round picks. Even a couple of undrafted free agents got some limelight last month. Yet, not everybody got the spotlight on them. There were quite a few signings in free agency that went almost completely overlooked. One former scouting director thinks a specific name is worth watching.

Greg Gabriel worked for the Bears for over a decade as a scout and college scouting director. During that time, he saw many good defensive linemen come and go. That is why it was interesting to hear his recent comment about one of the forgotten additions made by the team earlier this year.

“The Bears signed Byron Cowart during free agency, and he could be a solid addition. Cowart is a natural 1-Tech in the Bears scheme and has shown that when he is on his game, he can be a very solid player. The problem is that Byron has had an up-and-down career, and his best play came when he was with New England during his first two seasons in the League. He is going to have to play like he did then to make this Bears team.”

Cowart is one of the great enigmas in recent history. In 2015, he was the #1 high school recruit in the country but failed to get any traction at Auburn. Eventually, he found his way to Maryland, where he had three sacks and two interceptions during his final season. That was enough to get him drafted in the fifth round by New England in 2019.

Cowart is a fun reclamation project for the Chicago Bears.

His career with the Patriots can best be summed up by one word: health. A concussion slowed his progress as a rookie. The next year, it was a bout of COVID-19 followed by a back injury. He started 2021 on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and never saw the field. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts the next year and managed to stay healthy, but didn’t produce much. From there, he bounced from Kansas City to Houston and finally to Miami in 2023, where he stayed on their practice squad.

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The good news is this coaching staff might be the best equipped to save Cowart’s career. Defensive coordinator Eric Washington is one of the NFL’s top defensive line experts and is at his best with defensive tackles. Defensive line coach Travis Smith did great work with Andrew Billings and Gervon Dexter last year. Head coach Matt Eberflus is also no stranger to getting more out of overlooked players. Margus Hunt was considered a massive failure as a former 2nd round pick, never producing more than one sack in a season. Eberflus got five out of him in 2018.

If Cowart has anything to offer, the Bears will get it from him.


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Jun 10, 2024 1:08 am

I love how the last part of this article is about how coaches can get more out of a player, but somehow, they forgot how the coaches were supposed to get more out of a bunch of 1st and 2nd year players the past few years.
Yeah, players play, but if they don’t know how, they’re going to have to magically figure it out themselves.
But . . . the Bears defensive coaches have been getting more than their charges than the offensive coaches.

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
Jun 9, 2024 6:30 pm

Other good sources for players not yet tapped formally: prisons and work farms.

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
Jun 9, 2024 4:19 pm

Do you believe in miracles? How many chances does a guy get? Maybe great coaching can make him adequate at best. Ok, I shall settle for fun rather than production on a Sunday night.

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
Jun 9, 2024 11:56 am

Reclamation and redevelopment are worth a short cheap try. Better in players than in housing and neighborhoods.

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