Fitting the Bill

While the interior of the defensive line is the Bears biggest need area heading into the draft, both GM Jerry Angelo and Head Coach Lovie Smith have said that taking a defensive tackle just to fill a hole is unacceptable. The player will have to fit the defense the Bears plan to run. In the second look at prospects the Bears could target with the 14th selection in the draft, Bear Report examines Maryland DT Randy Starks and whether or not he would be a good fit in Chicago.

Tommie Harris and Vince Wilfork are the consensus top defensive tackles in the draft, while at this point is appears that Randy Starks has emerged as the third best prospect.

Starks decided to turn pro after his junior campaign at Maryland where he posted 74 tackles, 15.5 for loss to go with 7.5 sacks. He became one of the nation's best interior linemen as a sophomore when he nearly hit the century mark in tackles, which is an extremely rare feat for a player in the trenches. Starks tallied 93 tackles, 12.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks.

At over 6-foot-3, 314 pounds Starks is as big as he is strong. He holds the Maryland record with a 765-pound squat and a 440-pound bench press. During his Pro Day he did 27 reps at 225 pounds. However his 40 time was slower than expected with the fastest clocked time at 5.08 seconds and the slowest was 5.20. He had previously been expected to run closer to the 5.00 range.

Lovie Smith has harped on speed since taking over the team. Starks' lack of up-field burst could lead Chicago to pass on him despite the fact that Wilfork and Harris will likely be off the board by the time the Bears on the clock. Starks is also known more as a run stuffer than a pass rushing threat in the middle, which also goes against Smith's philosophy of straight ahead penetration as opposed to occupying space.

Starks has the ability to be a dominant player at the next level, although his discipline or lack there of could be a hindrance. He has a history of letting his aggression take over and at times that has led to poor tackling technique and costly penalties.

"Down in the trenches you have to have attitude," Starks said. "It's tough down there and you have to make plays."

The Bears could be the first team to seriously consider taking Starks in the first-round. There's no disputing his talent, but there is doubt whether or not he could fit into the Bears up-tempo scheme. Still he would upgrade the weakest position on the defense and competing for a starting role as a rookie with Bryan Robinson and Alfonso Boone is a realistic goal.

"They'll get someone who'll play 100 percent every down, give great effort and hard work," Starks said when asked what type of player the team that draft him will get. "As a person you won't have a troublemaker, a person that'll do everything you ask them to do."

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive: Strong, dominant interior lineman with good upside for the next level. Gets off the snap with a terrific first step, stays low to the ground and plays with leverage. Doubled by opponents but powerful and bulrushes lineman up the field. Resilient, works his hands and displays explosion.

Negative: Gets wired in blocks, a bit stiff and better in a straight line. Played well in '03 but not overwhelming.

Analysis:An athletic defender with top upside, Starks can be a dominant force in the middle and very much looks the part. Did not seem to play with the same fire his junior campaign as he did the previous season but still a solid prospect at a priority position.


Bear Report Top Stories