LAKE FOREST — The general manager did his part last week. Now it’s up to the head coach to get the most out of them, which starts this weekend.
Matt Eberflus will put the Bears’ draft picks and rookie free agents during a minicamp at Halas Hall on Friday and Saturday. The two days give the coaches along with the front office an idea of the skills of the players just acquired over the last week.
Of course, those selected last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will take center stage, including tenth overall pick Darnell Wright, the offensive tackle from Tennessee.
So what part of the selections has gotten Eberflus fired up headed into this weekend? If you know anything about the coach’s background along with a need for the Bears in 2023, it makes sense.
“Yeah, all three of those D-tackles excite me,” said Eberflus referring to some additions to the defensive line by Poles in the draft.
That group includes second round pick Gervon Dexter Sr. of Florida, Zacch Perkins of South Carolina, along with Kennesaw State’s Travis Bell. They’ll be added to an interior of a defensive line that could use some help to create some pressure.
Last season, the team finished with just 20 sacks, the lowest number in the NFL. It was just one part of a bad 2022 for the Bears’ defense that allowed a league-high in points (27.2) and was 29th in yardage given up per contest (375.9).
“I’m excited to get those guys in here, get our hands on them and work with them and see how they work, number one, and see their movement skills up front and in person. Those guys are going to be dynamic,” said Eberflus. “Obviously they’re all different shapes and sizes, all the three guys that we drafted. They’re big, they’re long, they’re fast, they’re athletic.
“So it’s exciting to be able to have those guys and add those guys into the middle of our defense.”
Those three are among the seven draft picks that went to the defensive side of the ball during the 2023 Draft, including cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, cornerback Terell Smith, safety Kendall Williamson, and linebacker Noah Sewell.
Yet there will be a particular focus on the three defensive tackles, who Eberflus believes can impact a big part of where the improvement in the Bears’ defense will begin.
“We really feel that’s a very important part to play in good run defense and also being able to push the pocket inside and to have some big athletes in there, it’s certainly harder to throw around those guys, too, in the pass rush,” said Eberflus.
He’ll get to see their full potential starting this weekend.