Bears Look at Middle Linebacker

Over the weekend, the Bears held their annual "Area Day" for local prospects to get an opportunity to work in front of scouts. One prospect seemed to get a little more attention than the rest of the group, which included more than a dozen players.

LB Tim McGarigle was a three-year starter at Northwestern and earned all-conference honors since his sophomore campaign. He led the team in tackles as a senior with 156 stops, 7 for loss and 2 sacks. His junior totals included 151 tackles after 140 the prior year.

Despite the impressive numbers, McGarigle isn't the ideal linebacker for the Bears speed oriented defense. At six-foot, 242-pounds, McGarigle has 4.79 speed.

While the Bears lack depth at outside linebacker, the same could be said behind Defensive Player of the Year Brian Urlacher. Hunter Hillenmeyer would likely be the top choice to fill in for the five-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, but that would leave a hole on the strong-side.

Although LB Jeremy Cain is gaining experience in NFL Europe, he's being used in a reserve role. Not being able to start in the developmental league is a sign he's a long shot to make the 53-man roster next season.

McGarigle could learn behind Urlacher and at the same time contribute in special teams as a rookie. The strength of his game is run defense and could make him an immediate fit in the goal line package. Scout.com ranks him as the fifth best prospect at middle linebacker, earning a three-star rating. He could bring solid value on the second day of the draft.

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive:
Active run-defender best in the box. Immediately diagnoses the action and flies around the football, sacrificing his body in order to make the tackle. Intelligent yet tough. Fires up the field and displays excellent tackling technique. Flashes skill in coverage.

Negative: Lacks top sideline-to-sideline range as well as speed in pursuit. Swallowed up at the point or taken from the action by opposing fullbacks.

Analysis: A two-down defender with a great head for the ball, McGarigle has starting potential at inside linebacker for a 34 defense.


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