Position Switch in the Works?

The Bears might consider moving backup defensive ends Michael Haynes and Israel Idonije inside to tackle and drafting one of several talented pass-rushing defensive ends or hybrid defensive end/outside linebackers.

While the move is partially to compensate for the loss of DT Tank Johnson for 4-6 months, Coach Lovie Smith had expressed a desire to add more pass rushers before the injury. Chicago finished tied for eighth with 41 sacks, but just 17th in sack percentage.

"You can never have enough pass rushers," Smith said. "We want to get more pressure on the quarterback this season."

Although North Carolina State's Mario Williams is destined to be a top five pick, there are three other defensive ends who could be on the board when the Bears are on the clock with the 26th selection.

The Bears have already shown interest in Florida State DE/LB Kamerion Wimbley at the Seminoles pro day last month. Despite missing three games with a knee injury, he finished with 7.5 sacks as a senior. At six-foot-4, 248-pounds Wimbley ran the 40 in 4.63 seconds at the NFL Combine.

Penn State's Tamba Hali is not considered a great pass rusher despite 11 sacks last season, but the 275-pound native of Liberia has enough size to be an every-down player and should be a late first- or early second-round pick. The problem is he reminds some of Haynes for more than coming from the same college. Hali lacks speed, which is something Smith craves off the edge and has led to a diminished role for Haynes.

North Carolina State's Manny Lawson might be best suited to play the rush linebacker position in a 3-4 defense because he weighs just 241 pounds, but he's 6-foot-5, so he could grow into a full-time defensive end, and he runs a 4.46-second 40-yard dash.

If the Bears decide to address defensive end outside of the first round, there's also potential value later in the draft.

Tennessee's Parys Haralson is undersized for an every-down defensive end at 6-1 and 253 pounds, but he could make an immediate impact as a situational pass rusher in the second or third round.

Purdue's Ray Edwards had a disappointing junior campaign for the Boilermakers, which saw him start the first six games of the season, only to become part of a rotation. Even with part time reps in the second half of the season, he still finished with 5.5 sacks.

The Bears are likely to address defensive end at some point in the draft. With Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye coming off Pro Bowl alternates seasons, it would seem to make more sense to wait until the second day to address the perceived need.


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