Beyond Round 1: DT Andre Fluellen

Every day this week, we will look past Round 1 of the upcoming NFL Draft and focus on some other prospects. The Chicago Bears have injury concerns at defensive tackle, so could a high-upside guy like Andre Fluellen of Florida State provide some depth behind Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek?

DT Andre Fluellen (6-4, 280) – Florida State

Strengths: Has very good height for his position, which helps him knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. Athletic enough to play end, but prefers it in the middle. A quick penetrator who can blow up running plays in the backfield. Extremely fast first step off the snap. Comes from a program that has produced the likes of Brodrick Bunkley, Travis Johnson, and Corey Simon in the first round recently at defensive tackle.

Weaknesses: Needs to put on some size and get stronger in the weight room. Can be bullied at the point of attack because of poor technique. Not much of a pass-rushing threat and only had 5.0 sacks in his collegiate career. Questionable motor and inconsistent production. Didn't have the big senior season that many scouts projected he would.

Projection: Third or fourth round.


DT Andre Fluellen
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Highlights: A preseason honorable mention All-America selection by NationalChamps.net. Named to preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy. One of ESPN's 10 Seniors to Watch in 2007. Member of the Bednarik Award watch list. Rated as the fifth-best tackle in the nation and a preseason All-ACC selection by The Sporting News. Had eight tackles for loss as a junior. Earned the prestigious Hinesman Award as the team's most dominant player during spring practice in 2006. Also named the King of 3-on-3 for the defense. Voted the team's Most Improved Lineman after his freshman season. Ranks eighth in school history with 19 tackles for loss in his career.

JC's Take: Head coach Lovie Smith prefers lighter defensive tackles who can penetrate the line of scrimmage and apply pressure, so Fluellen could be a good fit in this Cover-2 scheme. He played exclusively in a 4-3 defense for the Seminoles, primarily as an undersized nose tackle. Most everyone believes that the combination of Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek has the potential to be special, but they've only been able to suit up together once because of injury. Harris wasn't quite himself this season while struggling with a sprained knee, and Dvoracek has spent all but one game on injured reserve in two years as a pro. Anthony Adams will be back to provide depth at nose on running downs, but a player like Fluellen might make sense in passing situations – Israel Idonije could then return to his natural spot at end.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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