The Chicago Bears spent a good amount of time this offseason revamping their defensive line. The organization signed four key free-agent D-linemen, including defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, to help improve a Bears pass rush and run defense that ranked dead last in the NFL last season. In addition, Chicago re-signed defensive tackles Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins. But even after inking deals with this group of veterans, the Bears still felt inclined to add more beef to the defensive front via the 2014 NFL Draft.
With their second-round pick, Chicago selected defensive tackle Ego Ferguson. The former LSU Tiger decided to leave school early, which could lead to a challenging transition to the professional ranks. Ferguson didn’t have eye-popping numbers during his collegiate career (85 tackles and one sack). Even though he has good size (6-foot-3, 309 pounds), Ferguson has shown lacking fundamentals when it comes to shedding blockers and staying low coming off the ball.
As of right now, Ferguson has a lot of competition in front of him. Ratliff is expected to be one of the starting defensive tackles, along with four-year veteran Stephen Paea. There is also Collins, who is coming off reconstructive knee surgery, and fellow rookie Will Sutton, the Bears’ third-round draft pick.
It’s obvious that Ferguson won’t come close to cracking the starting lineup in 2014. The best-case scenario for the rookie defensive tackle is that he’ll compete for significant playing time among Collins, Sutton, and the rest of Chicago’s D-linemen in the rotation along the defensive front.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.