Steve Summers: Matt Toeaina came to Oregon as a fullback, but he grew and eventually was moved to the defensive line. He was an aggressive player that could fill both the tackle and end positions. He started 11 of 13 games during his senior season and recorded 36 tackles, including three for loss, and recovered a fumble.
He was a player that always seemed to have his motor running and his tackling statistics could have been better, but the Duck defense used its interior linemen to plug up seams rather than aggressively attacking the backfield. Most likely in the NFL, Toeaina would be better suited as a D-end unless his bench press has gone up significantly.
He played alongside Haloti Ngata (now of the Ravens) and was not as strong, but he was probably as quick as Igor Olshansky (now with the Chargers) when he played at defensive end. Olshansky is probably a stronger player, and he's at least four inches taller than Toeaina. The intangible quality about Toeaina is his desire and determination.
JC's Take: Based on what Summers has to say about Toeaina's collegiate career, it seems like the Bears are grasping at straws – he sounds more like an end than a tackle to me.
Depth at the defensive tackle position was arguably the Bears' biggest weakness heading into the 2007 season, but Dusty Dvoracek looked great despite missing all of his rookie year with a bum foot and GM Jerry Angelo swung a deal for Darwin Walker during training camp. However, Dvoracek was forced onto injured reserve once again after a ruptured ACL in Week 1 and Walker has been in and out of the lineup with minor injuries of his own, calling the likes of Anthony Adams and Antonio Garay into action – plus Israel Idonije, who's probably better suited at end, has been playing tackle almost exclusively. Now with both Adams and Garay on the shelf for the rest of the year, the Midway Monsters will depend on contributions from the likes of newly-signed Jimmy Kennedy and practice squad addition Babatunde Oshinowo down the stretch.
Toeaina may be the classic high-motor guy who gets the best out of his limited ability, but I don't see any chance of him sticking around for the long haul.
All of that plus much more in the January issue of ...
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