Every once in a while, undrafted rookies pan out in ways that no one can ever predict. That could very well be the case for Chicago Bears defensive tackle Zach Minter, who failed to hear his name called last April.
A stud interior force at Montana State, the 6’1’’, 297-pound Minter is currently battling for positioning on the Bears’ defensive tackle depth chart. Currently slated behind Stephen Paea and Nate Collins at nose tackle, he’s in good position to earn a spot on the 53-man roster due to the position’s lack of outstanding stability.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Minter ran a 4.8 40-yard dash during his Pro Day, a time that would have made him the fastest defensive tackle at the NFL Scouting Combine. That athleticism gives him a leg up on the rest of the players – Christian Tupou and Aston Whiteside – competing for the final spot at the position.
So far this preseason, Minter has been a dominant force for the Bears’ defensive front. In 82 snaps, he’s amassed one tackle, four quarterback hurries and one quarterback hit. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s tallied a 2.6 rating as a pass rusher while putting together a 3.2 overall rating – the second-highest of all Chicago defensive linemen.
While there’s still a long way to go for Minter before he takes that next step in his maturation as an NFL-caliber talent, the early production has to have the Bears excited.
Especially if the Bears decide to move on in 2014 from pricey defensive tackle Henry Melton, who is currently playing under an $8.45 million franchise tender, having an up-and-coming young talent like Minter on the roster could definitely help the healing process.
Minter is an intriguing prospect who the Bears can mold into a starter over the next year or two. First he has to make the roster, but that shouldn’t be an issue considering his preseason showing.
Keep an eye out for Minter in 2013 along the Bears’ defensive tackle rotation.