By Bears Gab Columnist Tim Hiller
Defensive Tackle – Roster/Positional Breakdown
The makings of any good football team starts with its stronghold in the trenches. In 2011, the Bears have solid yet unproven tackles to count on for the upcoming season with only one proven veteran in the mix. Many outside observers have spoken highly of this unproven group. Bears Gab will provide a breakdown of each player fighting for a playing time, but more importantly for some a roster spot.
The wily veteran re-signed with the team on a two year deal as a free agent in 2011. Anthony Adams has been a solid contributor in his 51 games played with the Bears accumulating 123 tackles. For a lack in height, he makes up with his speed and quickness as well as good instincts and seems to always be around the football. He also is able to hold the offensive line off of linebackers leaving them free to make plays in the Lovie Smith schemes. Adams not only provides a solid player in the middle he brings positive energy to the team and locker room. Roster Spot: Lock
Melton beefed up in the off-season to play defensive tackle where he is another player to fit the Bears defensive scheme. Melton has spent most of his career rushing the passer on the outside and moving to the inside will be an adjustment. In the pre-season, Melton has shown flashes with his speed and quickness to penetrate the offensive line and get to the quarterback, but with a lack of experience at the inside position technique will be an issue. Melton will be able to penetrate gaps and provide pressure on the opposing offense. Roster Spot: Lock
Toeaina is an “old-school” defensive tackle where effort and toughness are the strong points of his ability. He will hold the point of attack, use his strength to collapse the pocket while limiting running lanes for opposing running backs. For what Toeaina lacks in experience and overall ability he will make up with his strong work habits. The Bears view him as a strong point to their defense having signed Toeaina to a three year contract extension in 2010. Toeaina has played one full season in three years so durability is a lingering issue. Roster Spot: Lock
A once promising top draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2007 where he never panned out in their organization. The Bears took a flyer on Okoye based on his overall ability and the coaching ability of Rod Marinelli. Okoye has shown quickness and an ability to penetrate the line of scrimmage in pre-season. He has initial quickness and has good pad level to shed blockers while using good angles to chase down ball carriers. Okoye has been a durable player in his short career only missing two games in sixty-two career games. Roster Spot: Lukewarm
A second round pick by the Bears in 2011, Paea has not seen the field much in pre-season action. His time at Oregon State ended with the Pac-10’s defensive player of the year award while facing constant double teams. For what Paea lacks in pass rush skills, he is strong against the run and has a quick first step. Based on his draft status from 2011, Paea will hold a roster spot and continue to develop into an NFL player. Roster Spot: Lock
Harrison has a lot of potential, but has possibly ruined his fate by showing up to training camp this year out of shape and overweight. He has great potential and raw talent to develop and his ability to clog the middle with his size is a positive, but the real question is when that talent show will and is Harrison committed to his career? Having been in the league for three years, he is on the verge of losing a roster spot and needs to showcase himself as a reliable defensive tackle for the Bears. Roster Spot: Shaky
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