Victor Abiamiri: Future Bear?

On the surface, the Bears appear to be set at defensive end. Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye are both quality players in this league, plus Mark Anderson led the club with 12 sacks as a rookie. However, Ogunleye's production has been inconsistent, and his salary cap number is a hefty $6 million in 2007. The Bears really like Victor Abiamiri of Notre Dame, so could he be a Bear?

Team success will always boost an individual's stock. Players from winning squads are viewed in a more favorable light, as there is no trait more desirable than the ability to will one's team to victory. That is one reason why Victor Abiamiri is such a hot prospect - his 10.5 sacks stood out all the more on a 10-3 Notre Dame team.

Abiamiri was a big part of the Fighting Irish's success. He became a full-time starter at defensive end during his junior year in 2005 and was a difference-maker from that point on. During his final two collegiate seasons, he totaled 91 tackles, 18.5 sacks and 30 tackles-for-loss. He was named Notre Dame's lineman of the year after each of those seasons.

His impact was also felt in the locker room, as in 2006 he was one of 12 team members selected to the Leadership Committee by a vote of his teammates.

After morphing into a dominant collegian, Abiamiri is now out to prove he can maintain that success on the professional level.

"I really want to go out there and establish myself as one of the best defensive ends in the country and show all the coaches what I can do," said Abiamiri from Mobile during Senior Bowl week.

Abiamiri (6'4", 271 pounds) showcased his athleticism while down in Alabama. He displayed the ability to get after the quarterback, dipping his shoulder and using an array of counter moves. Although he had some trouble getting off his blocks against the run, he is a physically-imposing specimen who may be able to play some linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Abiamiri credits his strong performance during Senior Bowl week to the coaching he received from the Buccaneers' staff.

"They were really helpful in teaching me the techniques," he said, "and I was just trying to be like a sponge. Trying to learn as much as I could. You can always keep improving on fundamentals and techniques."

The Bears were one of several NFL teams that took notice of his strong play and talked to him at length. The Chargers, Falcons, Panthers, Rams and Seahawks also made a point of meeting with him one-on-one while in Mobile.

Never one to lack confidence, Abiamiri believes he could help improve any of the aforementioned clubs. He had the following to say about the team that drafts him:

"They'll get a player that will help them win football games, that's the bottom line. I'm very sure that I can help any football team win football games. and that's what it's all about in the NFL."

He can get after the quarterback, disrupt plays in the backfield and make plays in space. But Abiamiri's ability to lead his team to wins is what is sure to make him a high draft pick.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net


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