Lists of players who visited with teams in the run-up to the NFL draft rarely give any real insight into who exactly is being drafted.
Teams need to do their due diligence to know who these players are, and it is better to be prepared for who will fall into your lap on draft day.
Still, it’s pretty weird when a team is extensively with players in a certain position because it may say something about where they will move in those places in the future. It happens at the linebacker with the bears.
Your visits so far according to BearReport, Walterfootball.com and also pro-day interviews from players show that they were talking to linebacker Nick Bolton from Missouri, linebacker Chazz Surrat from North Carolina and linebacker Ernest Jones from South Carolina led.
If you didn’t know better, you’d have to deduce that the bears are preparing for the possibility of eventually replacing Danny Trevathan.
It’s most likely not this season because Trevathan’s departure would cost the Bears too much loss of wages. His contract essentially expires after 2022, as the three years end up being bogus years to prorate his signing bonus. And if it’s cut after 2022, the bears will still have $ 6.49 million dead cap space on the books from the deal, according to Overthecap.com.
However, you never know what will happen in a draft. If a player fell on them who they really liked, it could hasten a departure if that player turned out to be special at the start of training camp and preseason.
Trevathan has been an emotional, physical leader for five seasons and plays the game with great energy and violence. It has sometimes resulted in injuries. He has only fully played three of his nine seasons and two of his five Bears seasons.
Trevathan is leaving what Pro Football Focus has called its worst season. He had a career-low grade of 39.9 a year, 76th out of 83 inside linebackers rated by PFF. It came with the lowest rating after its bear season. The trend is not looking good.
When the bears got Nick Kwiatkoski, they had an ideal setup. They had a good third inside linebacker option. They apparently raised that need with Christian Jones returning as a free agent, but if they’d thought so much of Jones, they would not have originally let him escape to Detroit as a free agent.
So it wouldn’t be insane if the bears caught a glimpse of the linebacker in this design. You could also have prepared to trade Roquan Smith for a quarterback. Of course, that has not happened yet.
« How good is Bolton? » The report begins. « Imagine Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan with more punch. »
It is easy to see why the comparison was made to Trevathan. Bolton is only 5-foot-11 1/2 and Trevathan is 6-foot. They’re more like Sam Mills types in the inside linebacker, but the lack of height can be made up for and both seem to do. Plus, Bolton is roughly the same weight Trevathan was from college at 232. In Missouri, Bolton made four sacks, 17 1/2 tackles for loss and 220 tackles. Despite his small size, he was not liable for passport coverage with 12 defended passports and two interceptions. NFL Draft Bible projects it as a first choice, but it may need a specific defense and team for this to happen. Otherwise it could be a choice for the second round. One particular aspect of Bolton’s play speaks for his ability to be an insider linebacker. « His instincts are fantastic, » says NFL Draft Bible.
The 6-1 1/2 Surratt is just too small in terms of weight at 227 and has surprised with its ability to fill gaps and play games while being more physical than you would expect from a player who doesn’t weigh 235-240 pounds. He received status in the second round of the NFL Draft Bible. There’s another reason Surratt’s abilities are amazing. Starting out as a quarterback in North Carolina, he was unlikely to move on the defensive after a wrist injury cost him his 2018 season. So it’s easy to see why he would have missed tackles at this point. He was athlete enough in two seasons to make the conversiona and continued studying while completing 206 tackles, including 22 1/2 for the loss. He also had 12 1/2 sacks in his two seasons after the move.
NFL Draft Bible is a possible choice for Day 3 and calls Jones an underrated guy, but then gives him a grade for the sixth round. Jones has shown that instincts stand with, or even above, many better center-backs, but he hasn’t shown how explosive others are in this position. There it was noted in the scouting report how often he was at football. He was effective enough to contest 199 tackles, including 10 1/2 for the loss and two sacks of five pass separations and two interceptions. At 6-2, 230, size is less of an issue with him than with some other inside linebackers.
Get the latest news and rumors tailored to your favorite sports and teams. Sent daily by email. Always free!