Bears sign DeMarcus Walker: Experts hand out grades for Chicago

The Chicago Bears addressed the defensive line with the addition of defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who’s expected to sign a three-year deal worth $21 million.

Walker served as a key rotational piece for the Tennessee Titans last season, where he set career highs in sacks (7) and QB pressures (16). His seven sacks were more than Chicago’s current defensive front combined and he had just four less QB pressures than the Bears had as a team. While Walker isn’t a splashy signing, he’s someone who should upgrade the league’s worst pass rush from a year ago.

Here’s a collection of all of the grades for the Bears’ expected signing of Walker, where experts believe he’ll be a good fit in Chicago.

Pro Football Focus: B

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Pro Football Focus thinks Walker is a good fit for this Bears defense. They give the move a A for fit/need and C+ for value.

Walker endured a long journey from being a second-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2017 to finally carving out a sizable role with the Houston Texans in 2021 and the Tennessee Titans this past season. Walker racked up 30-plus quarterback pressures in each stop, with a pressure percentage above 10% in each and a career-high seven sacks in 2022 that may have boosted the value here a bit. With the inside-outside flexibility to play on the inside and on the edge, it’s not surprising Walker did quite well despite zero seasons with at least 500 snaps played over his first six years in the NFL.

The Bears’ defensive line ranked last in pass-rush win rate and pressure percentage in 2022, so any additions were sorely needed. At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Walker is the big, physical type of player head coach Matt Eberflus covets on the edge. He also earned a 68.7 run-defense grade and racked up 21 defensive stops in 2022.

Sporting News: A

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Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer is a fan of the move, which gives Chicago some affordable pass rush help.

The Bears get some cheap versatile pass-rush pop for their rebuilding defense, too.

Bleacher Report: B-

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Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport gave the Bears a solid mark for adding Walker, who’s coming off a career year.

Well, you can say this about Bears GM Ryan Poles. He hasn’t been even a little shy about tearing through all the cap space Chicago entered free agency with. The spending continued into Monday evening—per Garafalo, the Bears gave former Titans defensive lineman Demarcus Walker $14 million over two years to come to Chicago. Walker logged career bests in tackles (32) and sacks (seven) in 2022, and he profiles as a strong-side end who can play some tackle on passing downs.

Walter Football: B-

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Walter Football likes the move for Chicago but wonders if they overpaid for a part-time player.

DeMarcus Walker was just a part-time player in Tennessee last year, as he was used on about a quarter of defensive snaps. Despite this, he logged seven sacks, so some team was bound to take a chance on him to play a larger role.

It makes sense that the Bears would pull the trigger. They had a ton of money to spend, and they were devoid of talent on the defensive line after losing many talented players in recent years. This is a bit more than I would have given Walker, but I don’t think this is a bad signing.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire