Bears Target Second Day Pass Rusher

Even though only seven teams had more sacks than the Bears last season, Coach Lovie Smith wants more consistent pressure on the quarterback. BearReport.com has learned the team recently brought a pass rush specialist to Halas Hall for a closer look.

Illinois State DE/LB Brent Hawkins has been to Halas Hall. The former Purdue transfer is coming off a sensational senior campaign for the Redbirds with 67 tackles, 25.5 for loss and 17 sacks. He also set a school record with seven forced fumbles. He earned both All-America and All-Conference honors for his efforts.

While Hawkins dominated the competition at the I-AA level, he proved he could step up against a higher level of talent in the Hula Bowl. He was named the game's Defensive MVP after producing four quarterback hurries, a sack and a forced fumble.

The 6-foot-2, 241-pounder is not known for having superior speed. He clocked in at 4.78 seconds in the forty, which is a big reason why Scout.com ranks him as the 55th best defensive end prospect available.

Despite the absence of great workout numbers, it's hard to argue with Hawkins' production at Illinois State. There are several teams interested in his services. He's also scheduled or has already visited with the Jaguars, Steelers, Packers, Colts, Dallas, Kansas City and Atlanta.

Hawkins is not going to be an every down player in the NFL, but he could find a niche in the league as a situational pass rusher. The Bears had 41 sacks last season, but finished only 17th in sacks per pass attempt. With several other needs and only six total draft picks, general manager Jerry Angelo could still find Hawkins on the board late on the second day of the draft.

There's also a possibility Hawkins could end up in Chicago as an undrafted free agent. This year, teams can visit with up to 30 players, which allows for bringing in players who are unlikely to be drafted. Following the draft, there is a recruitment process to sign players and having a past history with a prospect can give a team the upper hand in getting a deal done.

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive:
Quick yet under-sized pass rusher who lacks a true pro position. Plays with excellent pad level, balance and body control. Has good first-step quickness, fast off the edge and displays skills in pursuit. Quickly changes direction or redirects to ball carrier.

Negative: Easily slowed by blocks and even taken from the action by opposing fullbacks. Has difficulty anchoring against the run.

Analysis: Answering the call as a senior, Hawkins dominated on the small school level yet lacks the true size\speed numbers to be anything more than a situational pass rusher.


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