As Arthur Brown visits the Chicago Bears this week, it leaves increased wonder as to whether general manager Phil Emery and Coach Marc Trestman are truly set on recent free agent signees James Anderson and D.J. Williams filling out the starting linebacker corps next to Lance Briggs.
If the Bears were to select Brown with the 20th overall pick, it does not necessarily spell a severely diminished role for Anderson and Williams. However, like Briggs, Brown played weakside linebacker at Kansas State and could begin growing in a limited role off the bench. Unlike Brian Urlacher, the 32-year-old Briggs has shown little sign of walking down the other side of that dreaded hill, but it’s hard to know if that wall has truly been hit until ending the offseason hiatus and hitting meaningful play again in September.
At the very least in the immediate future, Brown would add an an excellent piece in short-to-intermediate coverage that has been left by the void of Urlacher — which Urlacher could still manage just fine — while providing needed depth at a backer spot that certainly has its questions. Brown, who ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash at the combine, could ostensibly provide more range than any of the the aforementioned linebackers in 2013. It would be intriguing to see how Chicago uses him in this scenario.
Either way, I don’t anticipate that the Bears’ linebacker overhaul this offseason has ended. Williams seems slotted for middle linebacker and Anderson for strong side in the 4-3, where he played with the Carolina Panthers. However, neither has played a majority of season while earning a positive Pro Football Focus grade in the past two years. Brown could be their competition and depth for the present and Briggs’ heir apparent for the future.