It’s tough to evaluate a draft class in its first year.
We already gave the grades for all the draft picks who each signed four year deals. Which alludes that Ryan Pace has faith in this year’s class and wants to build around them in the coming drafts.
So, then the question becomes:
Who are the three core guys, outside of first round pick Kevin White, to build this team around?
The first core player the Bears should build around from the draft is Eddie Goldman.
First off, let’s take a second and count our blessings as the Bears nabbed a first round talent with the 39th pick. Goldman has the ideal size (6’4-336) to play nose in Fangio’s 3-4 scheme, but does he have the motor to become a difference maker?
I believe so…
In his three years at Florida State, Eddie had six sacks and seemed to be able to get in the backfield whenever the game was in the balance. An example is a play that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but still had an impact on the game against Notre Dame.
With about 90 seconds left in the game, it was 4th and 18… Eddie was able to get in the back field and flush Everett Gholston to his right. Everett was able to escape the pressure and complete the pass for the first down, but he had to work to move the chains. Plus after the throw, Everett got hit pretty hard by another teammate of Eddie’s, those hits can take a toll on quarterbacks and as the games wind down. Small plays like these may end up being the difference makers in the game.
Eddie has impressed both his coaches and teammates during OTA’s.
Fox was quoted, “He’s picking up the defense… I like what I’ve seen. He’s working at it hard and he’s a big square body.” These words of encouragement sound promising, especially coming from Fox. However, it was only OTA’s and everything changes when the pads come on in July…
Eddie needs to come out in camp and give it everything he’s got. If he needs time to adjust, there are a lot of bodies to rotate on and off the field this season, but Goldman is the only true fit at the nose..
Rotating guys will be a pivotal part of the Bears’ defense in 2015. It’s a great way to keep fresh legs on the field, but also Fangio could rotate guys in and create mismatches upfront.
Yet, I would prefer if Eddie found his way into being on the field more often than not, as he has the intangibles to become a star in this league. Although, we cannot say for certain what type of player Goldman will become, it is both exciting and enticing to see what he will bring to the table.
Being the new guy, he needs to show that he wants to set the tone for this defensive front as early as he can (especially if he wants to be a starter). I have full faith in Eddie starting week one against the Cheese, but someone needs to bring this defense back to what it used to be.
And it all starts up front.
If Goldman can do everything we believe he can: get to the quarterback, create pressure, eat up bodies, and stop the run, then Chicago has a real shot at revitalizing its defense that has been absent the last couple of seasons.
This is why Pace drafted him.
In a recent interview Goldman emphasized just that by saying, “As long as I play off of my teammates and play within the system and play to my ability, not only me, but this team, can accomplish some great things.”
The second is fifth rounder, Adrian Amos.
Adrian has the athleticism and knowledge to play any of the defensive back positions as he played both safety and corner at Penn State.
In the short term, I don’t see him making much of an immediate impact. He has to beat out Ryan Mundy, Antrel Rolle, and Brock Vereen for a starting job.
Looks doubtful… but that’s why they play the game right? To prove us wrong and go against the odds, maybe Adrian surprises everyone and starts week one.
That being said, when I look at the long term and see who he is surrounded by, it’s easy to see Amos as a starter in the near future.
One aspect of his game that he needs to work on is his tackling. He can lay a big hit… but he does not wrap up very well. Expect to see him on special teams, which will give him plenty of time to work on tackling. Once he can fine tune those skills, he has a shot at becoming a starter at safety.
Learning under Antrel Rolle will help him immensely.
The defensive secondary was weak under Trestman/Tucker, hopefully Fox/Fangio can solve that problem. There’s still more pieces to the secondary that need added. I don’t see this secondary being much stronger this year, but take this season and have Amos learn all he can from Rolle, and he has a chance to become a solid playmaker.
The third rookie to build around is Hroniss Grasu.
Hroniss and Kyle Long already respect one another and have a good relationship. The two have experience playing with one another at Oregon. Perhaps, the two can lead this offensive line for years to come.
So why did I pick Grasu to build around?
Well, the ball doesn’t go into play until he snaps the ball. Grasu needs to have confidence in the other four guys for him to thrive at his position. He has a chance to become the head man on that offensive line, he will need to communicate with everyone on defensive schemes and blitz packages. Grasu needs to be able to have the confidence that his guys will pick it up.
He has some things he needs to work on before he is ready to become the anchor at the center. He can learn a lot from Will Montgomery. If he listens to the veteran, is willing to put in the time, and the required effort, Grasu can become a solid player.
Will he start this year?
That is to be determined. Even if he doesn’t start right away, Grasu could find himself thrust into a starting role barring an injury. He will have to be ready to step-up whenever his name is called.
Although these rookies might not make an immediate impact, there is no reason to not keep tabs on them as the season progresses. A lot of times, rookies find themselves on the field at one point or another.
These three players have the potential to become not only starters, but have the possibility to become difference makers in the future.
And, you really never know…
Perhaps, one (if not more) of these players will surprise us and make that impact early on.
Maybe, Jeremy Langford will be one of the guys the Bears build around.
Either way, watching these rookies progress, assume the roles they find themselves in, and possibly surprise us, is another reason to give a damn in 2015.
In Case You Missed It
Reason #1: Kevin White’s Vitality to Jumpstart Bears Offense
Reason #2: Restoration of Leadership (and the Captain Patch)
Reason #3: New Bears to Help Create New Identity
Reason #4: Players Poised to Perform in Contract Years
Reason #5: The New Coaching Staff of Fox, Gase, and Fangio
Reason #6: Continuing Along the “Cutler Coaster”
Reason #7: Top Three Draftees (Not Named Kevin White)
Reason #8: So Many Questions (Creates a Little Bit of Drama)
Reason #9: New Video Boards and New Lounge to Improve Fan Experience
Reason #10: (Finally) Moving on Past Lovie Smith