What the Bears are looking for in defensive linemen this offseason
The Bears have a number of needs to address this offseason, but none more important than the defensive line, which was the league’s worst in 2022.
When you ultimately look at it, Chicago could have four new starters along the defensive line heading into the 2023 season. So there’s plenty of work to be done, and they have the resources to upgrade the position significantly.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus met with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine, where they discussed exactly what they’re looking for in a defensive lineman.
“Violence. Tenacity. Length,” said Poles.
“Big, long and fast,” said Eberflus.
Considering the needs at both three-technique and edge rusher, is there one position that will be prioritized over the other? Poles said it will ultimately come down to the evaluation of “how much they affect the game in both the run and the pass.”
Specifically looking at the NFL draft, Chicago has an important decision to make at No. 1. The ideal scenario would be the Bears trading back inside the top four and still managing to land either Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter or Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr.
When looking specifically at three-tech — the most important position in Eberflus’ defense — the Bears need to find a disruptive player to make this defense go.
While Daron Payne is off the market after the Commanders gave him the franchise tag, there are still some big-name veteran options for Chicago in free agency, including Javon Hargrave and Dre’Mont Jones. And the Bears have the money to go get one.
Still, Poles believes they’re in a good position to land an impact three-technique, be it in free agency or the draft.
“We will see after these next few days and weeks who is available in free agency and where they fall in our value chart and board,” Poles said. “Then if it’s not there, then maybe that turns to the draft. That’s the beautiful thing about balancing both of those things. That’s why we spent so much time evaluating both sides to kind of see what’s going to be available to us and where we need to attack in both of those areas in terms of free agency and the draft.”