Northwestern held its Pro Day this week. Bears scouts were among the representatives from numerous NFL teams that showed up for the workout. The player at the top of most radars was Wildcat defensive tackle Corbin Bryant – who said he'll be working out with the Bears, Patriots and Jaguars, among other teams, in the following weeks.
Bryant (6-4, 302-pounds) put up 31 reps at 225-pounds in the bench press and ran a 5.10 40-yard dash. The bench number is impressive, as its four more than fellow DT and consensus top-10 pick Marcell Dareus from Alabama, and the same as potential No. 1 overall pick Nick Fairley from Auburn. Obviously, the kid is strong.
"I just wanted to keep going," he said after his workout. "I just had to keep pushing myself until my arms said ‘no'."
DT Corbin Bryant
Yet after watching tape on Bryant, he doesn't play with the strength that bench-press number implies. He's not a bull-rush tackle. He relies on quickness in the trenches, not power. Swim and rip moves are his best friends.
The 40-time was slightly lower than average, which is about 0.2 behind other defensive tackles of his size. That won't hurt him all that much, as tackles aren't necessarily relied on for their top-end speed. More often than not though, those two-tenths are the difference between a sack and a hurry. Scouts know this well.
Bryant is a prototypical 3-technique tackle. He has the ability to get upfield in the pass rush but can be bowled over by bigger guards, especially when he comes too high off the ball. At 6-4, he needs to learn to keep his pads down. NU ran a fair amount of 3-4 sets mixed in with their traditional 4-3. Bryant played almost exclusively in the 4-3, Chicago's bread and butter. In zone blitzes, he often dropped into the short zone, demonstrating the faith NU coaches had in Bryant's athleticism. He even earned an interception in that role his senior season.
He has a good motor, and while he needs to become more aggressive in attacking the quarterback, he hardly ever gives up on plays. He is very effective when he's able to focus solely on penetrating one gap. Bryant was one of the team leaders in tackles for losses both his junior and senior seasons. He's a smart kid, as most NU grads are, and has no off-the-field issues.
Teams are interested in Bryant due to his athleticism. He shows flashes of potential and is the kind of developmental project that, under the tutelage of Rod Marinelli, could turn into a productive member of the DT rotation. He's a late round pick at best and may come into the league undrafted, yet there may be just enough potential there for the Bears to take a flyer on him in the sixth. It wouldn't surprise me to see Bryant fighting for a roster spot in the navy and orange come training camp.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.