Bears First Round Target: Ernie Sims

As contract negotiations with Lance Briggs hit a snag late last week, the Bears are considering taking a linebacker with the 26th choice. Florida State LB Ernie Sims has been to Halas Hall, but is he the right fit for the defense?

If a deal isn't done with Briggs before the draft, selecting Sims in the first round would send a clear signal the Bears are prepared to envision a future without the Pro Bowl linebacker. Even if something gets done in the next week, the Bears may still take a linebacker early to compete with Hunter Hillenmeyer on the strong-side.

"I played Sam linebacker at Florida State," Sims said. "But I think my best fit is in the league would probably be a Will, where I can have me a tackle or a nose protecting me and I can be able to run."

Sims was a two-year starter and earned All-Conference honors both seasons. His junior totals included 72 tackles, 10 for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and he broke up four passes. As a sophomore, he posted a career-high 86 tackles.

Scout.com ranks Sims as the second best outside linebacker prospect, earning a four-star rating. Only Ohio State's A.J. Hawk, who is expected to be a top five selection, grades out higher.

Sims appears to be the perfect linebacker for the Chicago defense. At six-foot-231 pounds he's athletic and can run the forty in 4.56 seconds. The knock on him is his history with concussions. He suffered five during his college career, but according to published reports he checked out fine with the Bears medical staff.

Part of the reason Sims has had so many concussions is his instinct to play with a high motor at all times.

"I don't think you can be taught that. It's just in me," Sims said. "When I get on that field my intentions are to just go out there and try to punish people. Not in a bad way, but that's how I play football."

There is also a major question if Sims would be on the board when the Bears are on the clock. The Minnesota Vikings have serious interest in him as they convert to the same Cover 2 scheme the Bears employ.

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive:
Explosive linebacker who displays a complete game. Fast, quickly changes direction and flashes on the scene, forcing the action. Explosive collapsing from the outside making plays, fires up the field in run defense and gets depth on drops in coverage. Outstanding lateral movement skills and effective in pursuit. Instinctive and does a good job staying with assignments.

Negative: Takes false steps to the action and is not efficient. Struggles with his back to the

Analysis: A three-down linebacker who plays bigger than his listed size, Sims has starting potential in a one-gap system. Should quickly find a starting spot at the next level once he gets get accustomed to the size/speed.


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