NFL Draft 2013: Is Fauria the Game-Changing TE Chicago Bears are looking for?

By Dominique Blanton
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Olsen is having himself a career year for the Carolina Panthers. The former Chicago Bears tight end has caught 45 catches for 747 yards and five touchdowns. Just imagine if the Bears had that similar production from the TE position this season. Head coach Lovie Smith thought he was getting that in Kellen Davis, a 6-7 260 pound TE who hasn’t gotten much of a shot when Olsen and Desmond Clark were still in Bears uniforms.

Davis performance this season pretty much justifies the coaches putting Davis in Olsen and Clark shadows in the past. Davis is not entirely useless as a TE as he has proven to be a red zone threat over the past few years. The problem is the Bears tried to use Davis as an every down TE despite his weaknesses as a route runner.

Davis is very stiff coming out of breaks and for a guy that is 6-7 260 pounds; he does a poor job shielding defenders away from the football. It’s very likely the Bears will cut bait with Davis in the off-season and search for a TE that can take advantage of the middle of the field. Right now opposing safeties are taking advantage of the missing presence at the TE position by playing over the top of Brandon Marshall. The Bears most likely will address the position via free agency or the draft.

Ideal Prospect for the Bears: Joseph Fauria UCLA

The nephew of former NFL TE and current ESPN football analyst Christian Fauria, Joseph Fauria has good football bloodlines. Like Davis, Fauria is a big TE at 6-7 258 pounds but that is where the comparisons stop. Fauria is a great pass catching TE that uses his size to dominate small linebackers and safeties over the middle of the field.  He’s a decent blocker in both the run and passing game which throws away the predictability whenever he’s on the field.

Fauria is also a very good route runner for his size, and that has been a huge benefit for him as he has caught 11 touchdowns for the Bruins. If the Bears forgo signing a TE in free agency, look for Fauria to be one of the many TE’s they consider past the first round.

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