Bears Size Up Linebackers

Yesterday, BR wrote that Jerry Angelo would consider taking a linebacker in the draft to add depth. Later in the day at the Senior Bowl, members of the team spent considerable time with two potential LB selections, Stanford's Jared Newberry and Barrett Ruud of Nebraska.

Scouting Report: Jared Newberry School: Stanford
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 225 40: 4.73

The Good: Instinctive linebacker that constantly positions himself to make plays on the ball. Easily stays with backs in coverage, gets depth on pass drops and displays good range. Quickly changes direction, redirects to the play and a tough defender that works to get involved. Adequate strength and gets off blocks to make a play on the ball. Immediately keys or diagnoses the action.

The Bad: Lacks a sustained burst of speed. Undersized and engulfed at the point by blockers.

The Skinny: A three down defender perfectly built for the weak side, Newberry offers a lot of skill. Should be a productive starting "will" linebacker in the NFL as he improves his overall strength.

Senior Bowls Notes: The Browns have also spent time with Newberry and have an immediate need at weak side linebacker. The Bears moved Lance Briggs to the position last year and he became a first Pro Bowl alternate. Although it's highly unlikely Briggs would be moved back to the strong side for a rookie, Lovie Smith has contended that all three linebacker spots are the same in his defense which could mean Newberry could move to "sam" backer.

Scouting Report: Barrett Ruud School: Nebraska
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 240 40: 4.72

The Good: Intelligent defender with outstanding instincts. Quickly diagnoses the action, takes good angles to the play and gets through the trash laterally pursuing the action. Breaks down well, holds his ground against blocks and stays on his feet. Solid sideline-to-sideline pursuit skills with the ability to cut off the corners from running backs

The Bad: Does not get depth on pass drops and has difficulty covering tight ends downfield. Lacks top first step quickness and not explosive.

The Skinny: A quick learner with outstanding football intelligence, Ruud is always in a position to make plays on the ball handler. Possesses adequate size as well timed speed, all of which could help him develop into a three down defender at the next level.

Senior Bowl Notes: A middle linebacker in college that would have a hard time moving to the strong side because of a lack of coverage skills. Obviously, the Bears don't need a starting middle linebacker but depth at the position could be an asset as was seen in 2004.

While Ruud has visited with the Bears, 49ers and Packers, he has had many uncomplimentary things said about him.

"That Nebraska linebacker isn't so good," one St. Louis scout said.

The scout went on to pick on him further. It is a strong possibility that they will not be picking Ruud come draft time.


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