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Potential Bears Defensive System Fits at Senior Bowl

By Gene Chamberlain,


A few under-the-radar types who stepped up at the Senior Bowl could fit the Bears defensive scheme, as can some bigger names.

It's usually the scout's discretion who really is performing best at the Senior Bowl workouts.

You could just about find anyone's name on social media being posted as having a good day at the practices, but whoever is actually opening eyes will be known to coaches themselves. As such, the Bears are fortunate to have Luke Getsy as head coach of the American team.

He's not the only set of eyes on the offensive side as tight ends assistant Tim Zetts is also present.

The defense isn't neglected as linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi is also coaching the American team.

The Bears have specific defensive needs with a 4-3 one-gap defensive scheme, much the way they do with a wide zone blocking scheme for the offensive line and running backs.

Here are some of the defensive players who could fit their needs and have been reported as standing out at the Senior Bowl practices.

DT Keeanu Benton

The Wisconsin defensive tackle is a bit bigger than some effective 4-3 three techniques, at 6-foot-4, 312 pounds, but has the kind of quickness retired at the position.

NFL Draft Bible's assessment of Benton coming into the Senior Bowl was he could become an NFL starter if he develops a better pass rush. He definitely has looked to scouts at the Senior Bowl like a player who can get off the ball quickly. Knowing how to finish is something that can only be measured in games so Saturday will be big for him.

LB Daiyan Henley

The Bears have a defensive end converted from wide receiver. They could do much worse in the draft than taking a linebacker converted from wide receiver. Henley, from Washington State, said he was told he was too physical for a wide receiver by others players in the receiver room.

"It feels better for sure to be the one that's on the opposite end of that punching bag," Henley said.

If a linebacker was once a receiver, it only stands to reason he should be able to cover well. The Bears prize coverage linebackers as much as they do tacklers. Henley is not really tall at 6-foot-3/4 inch. He's 230 and had a 78 1/2-inch wingspan.

He was in college a long time. He played five years at Nevada and then a year at Washington State, coming on strong as a linebacker in 2020 for Nevada. He also played safety and slot cornerback besides wide receiver and linebacker. He had 106 tackles and 12 for loss with four sacks last year.

LB Demarvion Overshown

Another of the modern group of big safeties who added a little weight and are projected to or do play linebacker. Overshown, from Texas, is not an easy target for passers to throw over in zone coverage at 6-foot-2 1/2 with a 78-1/2 wing span. Overshown has added a little weight to reach 220 and will need to put on more for the NFL if he's going to be at linebacker.

Overshown made 96 tackels with 10 going for loss last year, and had five pass breakups. He had 17 passes defended for his career and three interceptions.

DL Adetomiwa Adebawore

Bears GM Ryan Poles has the proximity advantage here as Adebawore is from Northwestern and scouts see him making a mocker of the pass rush drills. At 6-foot-1, 284 pounds, he plays edge and three technique. He has the kind of versatility for the edge and the tackle spot as a pass rusher the Bears covet. For his height, he also has a decent wingspan at 82 1/2 inches, to knock down passes.

NFL Draft Bible places him among their edge rushers and not defensive tackles, and ranks him only 18th best. They refer to him as a "chess piece" and point out he was on the "Freaks List" done by The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. The reason for this is he squats 685 pounds, benches 410 and does the power clean at 375. He's also expected to be a workout warrior in Indianapolis at the three-cone, vertical leap and broad jump.

The reason you may not have heard of him is he was playing five-technique defensive end for the Wildcats in their scheme.

Playing in a defense where his primary goal will be to penetrate and disrupt from the interior or switching out to the edge on occasion, it's possible

Adebawore emerges as a later draft steal for some team.

The NFLDB rates him as a fifth-rounder—but maybe not after what he showed at the Senior Bowl.

CB Darius Rush

There have been any number of cornerbacks step up to be noticed according to media and scouts, and Julius Brents of Kansas State carried his early dominance this week straight on through to the end of practices.

However, one player who went in somewhat under the radar and emerged as a possible Bears system fit is South Carolina's Darius Rush. He's a potential Day 2 or early Day 3 type according to NFLDB.

There's a good reason he was under the radar even at ideal cornerback size of 6-1, 200. South Carolina has two cornerbacks who came in rated much higher, Cam Smith and David Spaulding, so Rush was naturally overshadowed.

Rush's strength has been viewed as zone and he's versatile enough to be outside or in the slot.

Rush was the fastest player at the Senior Bowl this week but not by an actual clocking. It was a GPS time.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

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