Chicago Bears Rookie Film Review: TE Adam Shaheen

We dissect collegiate game film of Chicago Bears second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, who has some serious potential as a pass catcher at the NFL level.

The Chicago Bears selected two DII prospects during the 2017 NFL Draft, the first of whom was second-round TE Adam Shaheen. 

Due to his small-school status, Shaheen is not a household name and few understand what the Bears have in him.

With that in mind, I broke down game film from two Ashland contests last season (the only two I could find). Here's what I saw on film. 

Vs. Northwood

-1:06 – Edge block, extends arms and then runs with the defensive end all the way to the far numbers. Good job sticking with the block, athleticism to mirror laterally down the line of scrimmage.

-2:04 – Double team at the point of attack. Shaheen peels off and finds the safety, locks him up. Good awareness and field vision coming off the double team.

-3:10 – Shaheen lines up in the left slot and run a skinny post deep across the field. After the QB buys time, he launches a deep ball to the end zone. Shaheen fights off the defender, who eventually falls down, and snatches the ball out of the air for the touchdown. Those are NFL-level hands right there.

-4:19 – Lined up on the right edge, Shaheen runs quick out-and-up. The double move allows him to get behind the defense. The QB makes a nice over-the-top throw and Shaheen hauls it in for his second TD.

-7:17 – Goal line, Shaheen lined up right edge. He’s tasked with blocking a much smaller player one-on-one. The defender maintains separation with his arms and disengages easily to make the tackle. The lack of push from Shaheen here is concerning, especially on a goal-line play where a much larger player needs to win at the point of attack.

-7:35 – Shaheen left wing, runs a double move. Starts a break outside before cutting back inside, makes the TD grab with a defender hanging on his back. Quick change of direction, great strength and concentration to make the grab.

-8:31 – Right edge, Shaheen stems up the right hash, freezing the safety. He then cuts outside and make the easy catch for the first down.

-8:44 – Shaheen is knocked on his heels after first contact with a defender much smaller than him.

-8:52 – Right edge, he runs a quick out and up. Shaheen is wide open in the end zone for his fourth TD of the game.

Vs. Wayne State 

-0:15 – Lined up wide left, bubble screen to the slot receiver. Shaheen has one guy to block, yet the defender dips underneath and hits the WR just as he catches the ball, forcing a turnover. Shaheen’s missed block led to the turnover.

-0:38 – Shallow crossing route, pass is behind him but Shaheen turns his body and make the grab, then hangs on as he’s hit by two defenders.

-1:11 – Right edge, pitch play. Shaheen comes low off the ball and wins the leverage battle. He drives the defender back and then sticks with the block, pushing the DL outside and creating a cutback lane for the RB.

-2:23 – Wide open on a hitch route between the hashes for a TD, but the high pass bounces off Shaheen’s hands.

-2:47 – Fade route to the back corner of the end zone, the defender wins the battle, outmuscling Shaheen and getting a hand on the ball.

-3:43 – Lined up out wide, Shaheen turns the defender around twice as he works up the field. The defender tries to bear hug Shaheen but he fights off the illegal contact and elevates for the catch. He then drags the defender for another 10 yards before going down.

-5:09 – Goal line, left edge. Shaheen delivers a blow at the point of contact, driving the DE two yards outside. This creates a wide running lane for the RB to score the TD.

-5:31 – Left edge, Shaheen runs an out-and-up that fools the safety. He’s wide open over the top of the defense for a TD.

-6:25 – Shaheen releases across the field from the right edge and makes the catch at the 25-yard line. He then turns up the field, outraces one defender to the sideline and then breaks another tackle. He’s free for an 82-yard TD but he steps out of bounds. He shows off his speed and open-field ability on this play. 

Analysis

Evaluating Shaheen is difficult due to his level of competition. With his size, it often appears as if he’s playing against high school kids. So while he may have knocked around a 6-1, 260-pound defensive end, how will he look against a frothing 6-6, 290-pound edge defender in the pros?

As such, I did not scout Shaheen in terms of his toughness or power, as I believe the lack of competition skews any objectivity in those areas.

That said, there were a few occasions where Shaheen was outmuscled at the point of attack, which is concerning. As a blocker, he has a lot of room for improvement. His initial tendency is to stand up out of his stance, which almost always results in him losing the leverage battle.

Shaheen often stays flat-footed as a blocker and fails to mirror defenders once they attempt to shed the block. He did show very well as a blocker in the second half of the Wayne State contests, so he has potential as a run blocker.

In pass protection, he does not have the lateral agility to stay in front of NFL-level edge rushers. He should be used as a receiver in passing situations, not a blocker.

As a receiver, Shaheen is a serious weapon. He has great feel and awareness, with a knack for finding the soft spots against zone coverage. He rounds off his routes yet he has enough acceleration to create separation out of his breaks. With his size and burst, he should have no problem exploiting mismatches against safeties and tight ends.

In the red zone, Shaheen was borderline unstoppable in college. He makes defenders look silly on option routes and double moves, then uses his girth and height to finish on jump balls.

Shaheen’s hands are outstanding. In the two games I analyzed, I saw him drop one pass, which was a fireball 5-yard missile thrown over his head. His first touchdown against Northwood -- where he fought off a grabby defender and then snatched a bomb out of the air -- gives a great example of his potential as a downfield threat, particularly against in-the-box safeties.  

As a receiver, Shaheen can line up anywhere on the field. He’s a mismatch nightmare who is hard to bring down after the catch, thus justifying his “Baby Gronk" nickname.

He has a long way to go as a blocker but Shaheen is going to be a legitimate pass-catching weapon for the Bears from Day 1. And near the goal line, he’ll more than justify his status as a second-round pick.


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