With the Senior Bowl done, the next big pre-draft event for GM Ryan Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus, and the rest of the Chicago Bears brass will be the Scouting Combine. It is the annual event in Indianapolis, where most of the big names in every draft get together for athletic drills and team interviews. While many argue the actual merits of the event, there is no denying it can make or break a player’s draft stock depending on how they perform.
Announcements have come out that 319 players have been invited to the combine. There will be no larger gathering of talent in a single place for the rest of the cycle. That means Poles and his scouts must make sure they get the data they require for what could be the most important draft of the past decade. When examining all those attending, several names will likely have the Bears’ full attention.
Several combine names will have the Chicago Bears’ attention.
Bryce Young (QB, Alabama)
The odds of the Bears drafting a quarterback remain low. Justin Fields has done enough to earn another season. That said, Poles has the responsibility of keeping an open mind. That means evaluating this quarterback class with utmost seriousness. Most would agree Young is the most complete prospect of the group. He’s smart, processes quickly, and throws with precise accuracy. The big concern with him is the size. He is not only short but is listed at 195 lbs. Will he successfully add more mass to curb those concerns?
Israel Abanikanda (RB, Pitt)
It is amazing to think that Abanikanda is only 20 years old. Yet he was pretty much unstoppable for the Panthers this past season, racking up 1,431 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. He has a nice blend of size and speed, along with a hard-running style. He also demonstrated lots of potential as a pass catcher. His pass blocking is dependable too. He will be perfect if the Bears seek quality depth in their rotation.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State)
He was one of the most productive receivers in the country in 2021. Injuries robbed Smith-Njigba of making an impact this past year. Now his draft stock is in limbo. Some still see him as a 1st rounder. Others feel he could fall to the 2nd. It may hinge on how fast his 40 time is. If he can post in the 4.4 range, he may save himself. The Bears should hope he doesn’t. Getting him in the 2nd might be a steal.
Zach Kuntz (TE, Old Dominion)
One thing they can never teach in sports is size. You don’t see many tight ends that are 6’8. The critical difference with Kuntz is he’s not a gangly statue. He can run for somebody that tall and isn’t terrible with his routes. He needs to reinforce his tape with a strong showing in drills. The Chicago Bears could become a problem for teams with a pairing of him and Cole Kmet on the field.
Peter Skoronski (OT, Northwestern)
Many consider him the best offensive line prospect in the draft. Skoronski has size, power, good feet, sharp awareness, and a mean temperament. His technique is polished. There aren’t many holes in his game. The problem is his length. Reports say he has shorter arms than preferred for NFL tackles. That is why his measurements at the combine will be crucial. If they’re better than expected, he could be a tackle.
Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Most believe Carter is the best overall prospect in the draft. For a guy who is north of 300 lbs, he’s an athletic freak. He has power, quickness, and way more speed than you could imagine. Many see Pro Bowls in his future, presuming he continues to polish his game. There are questions about his overall motivation and work ethic. That is where the combine interview will be huge for the Chicago Bears.
Will Anderson (EDGE, Alabama)
It’s the same situation as Carter. Anderson is also viewed as one of this class’s two or three best prospects. He’s a tough, strong, smart, and quick edge rusher with a hunter’s mentality. His ability to get the quarterback is unchallenged. The concerns with him are his relatively modest size at 243 lbs. That is far too light for a 4-3 defensive end. Poles and Eberflus will want to see if he’s added any weight.
DeMarvion Overshown (LB, Texas)
Long athletes. That is what this new regime said they’re looking for when constructing their roster. Overshown certainly checks those boxes. He’s 6’4 and shows plenty of speed on tape. He plays with an aggressive mindset too. There are rumors he is a football junky, which is exactly what the Bears want. If he can back that up in Indianapolis, it wouldn’t be a shock if he’s a favorite target of theirs.
Emmanuel Forbes (CB, Mississippi State)
Forbes was one of the best ballhawks in the SEC this past year. He lives for forcing turnovers. That fits perfectly with what the Bears seek on defense. They need to see if he has the athletic chops and displays the necessary mentality for the high-effort style they demand. It isn’t for everybody. If Forbes passes those tests, he will end up a favorite target by this April, presuming the Bears have the resources to get him.
Feb 8, 2023 10:15 pm
The draft usually offers only 7-13 “Blue-Chip” players. It’s normally about 8, but one year we saw 12, which was rare. So, consider that value of that high pick compared to what’s available after combine evals are complete Consider free agency. If you want to play GM you must see all angles lest you project any foolishness……………….
The draft usually offers only 7-13 “Blue-Chip” players. It’s normally about 8, but one year we saw 12, which was rare. So, consider that value of that high pick compared to what’s available after combine evals are complete Consider free agency. If you want to play GM you must see all angles lest you project any foolishness. If you want to pound the table for a blue chip player please do so and tell everyone why so we can share your vision. Can the player dominate his side of the ball? OK, well then we must have him. What if… Read more »
Feb 28th thru Mar 6th at Indy in case you asked