How the Bears plan to make up for lost ground with the draft and free agency
The Bears have a ton of draft picks and they’ve made moves to shore up the team’s weak defensive line.
However, they’ve also added plenty of free agents and made some moves to upgrade the defensive line in the offseason.
Here are five of the Bears biggest offseason moves to address their weaknesses.
The Bears made a lot of moves to strengthen their pass rush, but some of the biggest moves came with the drafting of Jared Allen, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound defensive tackle from the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Allen was the No. 6 overall pick by the Bears, and his stock has soared since the draft, especially after the Bears signed former Seahawks linebacker Justin Britt to a five-year, $43 million deal in the final days of free agency.
Allen will provide a much-needed anchor on the edge for a unit that had been a source of frustration for the Bears for years.
“We’re excited to have Jared as a part of our defense,” Bears head coach John Fox told reporters in May.
“It’s a big upgrade for our pass rush.
I think Jared will have a major impact on our defense.
He was one of the best defensive tackles in the country at Alabama and he got paid. “
You look at what they did with the [Jared] Allen deal.
He was one of the best defensive tackles in the country at Alabama and he got paid.
And he’s going to come in here and help our pass-rush.”
Allen’s stock went up after he posted eight sacks in four seasons with Alabama, and he also has the talent to improve the defensive front, but the Bears had a major problem last year.
After losing nose tackle Jonathan Cooper and cornerback Trumaine Johnson to free agency, the Bears spent most of the offseason trying to find replacements for Cooper and Johnson, but none of those options were willing to take a big pay cut.
“I think the biggest thing is that the Bears are trying to replace a lot, so we have to go out and find a player to fill those holes,” Bears linebacker DeAndre Levy told reporters.
“That’s what the draft is for.
We need to go and find players.
We have to find guys that can help us improve and help the young guys that are coming in and that’s what we’re doing.”
Bears safety Malik Hooker is in his fourth season with the team and is entering his seventh season.
Hooker’s playing time dropped significantly last year, but he did have four interceptions and three pass breakups.
But the Bears made sure to add some depth to their secondary by signing former Jets safety Brandon Boykin, who played in all 16 games last season.
Boykin’s been a steady contributor on special teams since joining the Jets, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to fill the void left by the departure of Cooper and the departures of Boykin and Trumain Johnson.
“The biggest thing that Malik Hookers ability will allow us is a lot more versatility, a lot quicker feet, a whole lot more speed,” Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio told reporters during a media availability last week.
“In the secondary, we’re not going to be able the same guy that he is now.”
The Packers made some big moves on the defensive end front with the addition of defensive end Julius Peppers, who was taken with the third overall pick.
He will be the team first free-agent signing and was a key player on the Packers’ Super Bowl XLIX championship team.
The 5-foot, 175-pound Peppers played in 15 games for the Packers in 2015 and made seven tackles for loss and one sack.
The biggest question with Peppers coming into the league is whether he can replace the speed and power that made him a Pro Bowler in 2015.
Peppers’ biggest competition is former Bears DE Jared Allen.
Pepper played in 13 games with the Bears last season, but was not a consistent contributor on defense.
“Obviously, we have two great players,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in May, adding that he believes Peppers will have an impact on the team.
“And I’m sure that’s going, I think, to be a lot easier for him.”
Peppers is a big, physical player who has some ability to win with his strength.
He played his college ball at Georgia, but didn’t have a lot success at the NFL level due to his size and athleticism.
Peers will have to get used to the speed of the NFL and will have some time to get comfortable with the physicality of the game.
“He’s got a great feel for the game, but I think he’s got to go back and make sure that he stays patient,” Packers defensive end Andrew Adams told reporters after the draft.
“Just make sure he’s able to get better, just make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for him to go into the NFL.” 4. The