Bears Draft Options: DT (Rounds 4-7)

If Chicago chooses to wait until the last half of this year's draft to select a defensive tackle – to replace recently departed Amobi Okoye – the club should consider one of these 10 players.

When news broke last week that former Bears defensive tackle Amobi Okoye had signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it left a gaping hole in Chicago's roster.

Okoye was signed to a one-year deal last offseason and performed well as a rotational partner with Henry Melton. The two split time at the 3-technique spot, utilizing their one-gap quickness to combine for 11.0 sacks – the most from a Bears DT duo since 1995.

Okoye wasn't a force against the run but he was very good at pressuring the quarterback. In Chicago's defense, creating pressure up the middle can be the difference between a win and a loss. It's why coach Lovie Smith has proclaimed the 3-tech, or under tackle position, the most important on the defense. With pressure up front, the team isn't forced to blitz, allowing the rest of the defense to drop into a Cover 2 shell.

Stephen Paea, last year's second-round pick, is a versatile player that has the skill set to play both under tackle and nose tackle. On film, his strength and squat frame make him a better fit at nose but he's still quick enough to rotate at 3-tech. His flexibility allows the Bears to look at both one-gap penetrators and nose guards next weekend.

The upcoming draft is loaded with potential playmakers at the defensive tackle position. The organization could address DT early in the draft, yet there are a number of mid- and late-round players that could also be contributors.

Here are 10 defensive tackles the Bears should consider in Rounds 4-7.

DT Derek Wolfe
Andy Lyons/Getty

Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati (6-5, 295)
Wolfe had an outstanding senior season, leading the Big East in tackles for loss (19.5) and ranking 12th nationally in sacks (9.5). At the combine, he showed decent speed (5.01 40-yard dash) and good strength (33 bench-press reps). His diagnostic skills are arguably the best of any incoming defensive lineman. He lacks explosiveness but makes up for it with solid technique and leverage. He uses a very good swim move and has a nonstop motor. He has scheme versatility and can play the 3-tech in a 4-3. He's a sleeper pick and would be a Day 2 steal. ESPN's Mel Kiper grades him as a first-round talent.
Projected: 3rd-4th round

Josh Chapman, Alabama (6-1, 316)
Chapman is an incredibly strong nose tackle that is nearly impossible to move. He'll be a solid run stopper at the next level. He had surgery to repair a torn ACL in January, so there are serious medical concerns. He played in a 3-4 system in college, where he'll be best suited in the pros, but he still has value as a nose tackle in a 4-3.
Projected: 3rd-4th round

Kheeston Randall, Texas (6-5, 293)
Randall is three-year starter. He's undersized but powerful. He uses his hands well to shed blockers and make plays in the backfield. Against the run, he's a force. Yet as a pass rusher, he's basically nonexistent. He was pulled off the field on passing downs in college. He's a pure, two-down nose tackle.
Projected: 4th round

Marcus Forston, Miami (6-1, 301)
Forston is a gifted athlete who showed impressive strength at the combine, posting 35 bench-press reps. He's quick inside and has good change of directions skills. Yet his career has been scarred by numerous injuries. He's arguably one of the biggest injury risks in the draft, yet could offer the biggest rewards.
Projected: 4th round

Jaye Howard, Florida (6-3, 301)
Howard is an experienced player, starting 25 collegiate games. He's an explosive player that can blow back offensive linemen. He has experience at both end and tackle. The big knock on Howard is his inconsistency and tendency to take plays off. He also struggles to disengage from blockers. He played 45 games in college, but earned just 11.0 total sacks. He's not likely to be a pass-rush force at the next level.
Projected: 4th-5th round

Brett Roy, Nevada (6-3, 275)
Roy is undersized and might be a better fit at defensive end. He came to Nevada as a safety, moved to linebacker, then end and then tackle. His position flexibility could make him attractive to Chicago, as he's about the same size as Melton. A bit of tweener, Roy isn't athletic enough play linebacker but may not be big enough to play full-time as a down lineman. Still, his quickness off the ball and ability to penetrate gaps will give him value as a mid-round selection.
Projected: 5th round

Loni Fangupo, BYU (6-1, 323)
Fangupo is a stout, powerful nose tackle. He lacks quickness and lateral agility but he can eat up offensive lineman. His best fit is likely as a nose tackle in a 3-4 but could still perform in Chicago's 4-3.
Projected: 5th round

DT DeAngelo Tyson
Paul Abell/US Presswire

DeAngelo Tyson, Georgia (6-2, 315)
Tyson played both tackle and end in college, but will slide inside at the pro level. He's not an explosive player and will not apply consistent pressure on the quarterback. He'll do better eating up blockers as a 4-3 nose than he will slanting into the backfield at 3-tech. He's not flashy but his energy and love for the game will see him drafted on Day 3.
Projected: 6th round

Markus Kuhn, North Carolina State (6-5, 299)
Kuhn is a developmental project who started just one season for the Wolfpack. He's a high-effort player with good quickness off the ball. He struggles against the run and does not disengage well, yet with coaching, he could develop into an effective third-down pass specialist. Kuhn is a late-round 3-tech with a lot of potential.
Projected: 6th round

DaJohn Harris, USC (6-3, 306)
Harris showed up at the combine but did not workout after doctors found a hole in his heart. The condition is known as patent foramen ovale. He was subsequently checked out again and has been given the OK by doctors for his career going forward. Still, the issue is scaring off a lot of teams. Harris has third-round talent and was a powerful player for the Trojans last season. The former tight end switched to defensive tackle his sophomore year, and still has receiver-like footwork. He lacks consistency and conditioning is an issue. If the Bears are willing to put his health issues aside, Harris could be a late-round steal.
Projected: 7th round


If the Bears want a 3-technique player, then Wolfe is their man. He has the quickness, strength and one-gap ability to be a potential beast in passing situations. He won't provide anything against the run but as a pure pass rusher, he has a lot of usefulness. Wolfe is an impact player that would be great value in the third round and an absolute steal in the fourth.

Roy and Kuhn also fit the 3-tech bill and could provide good interior pressure in a couple season. As Day 3 selections, each has a lot of value and could be a producer down the line. Like Wolfe though, neither is stout against the run and both will need a lot of work with Chicago's coaches, especially Kuhn.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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