Future Bears? Saturday from Indy

The Chicago Bears singled out several prospects that they like at events like the Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl, and now it's time to see what they can do at the NFL Combine. Bear Report has a seat in the front row as some possible future Midway Monsters do their best to impress team scouts.

DT Sedrick Ellis (6-0, 309) – USC
One of the players who helped himself tremendously with a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, Ellis projects as the No. 2 defensive tackle available in the NFL Draft according to Scout.com.

"As a player, you always thrive and you always want competition," Ellis said when Bear Report asked if he'd rather compete for draft position or be the unquestioned elite player. "But then again, it would be cool to be that elite guy. And I'm working towards being that elite guy. You've got Glenn Dorsey, who's a great tackle for LSU, so I'm definitely looking forward to me and him battling for a lot of stuff in the next few months. He throws a punch, I throw a punch. It's going to come down to pretty slim pickings up there. I think there's like three of us in the top 15 or something like that. Teams need tackles. Tackles are not something that you can make from a different position."

Ellis firmly believes that his lack of height can be an advantage at his position, using leverage and quickness to get under opposing offensive linemen and knife into the backfield consistently.

QB John David Booty (6-2 1/2, 215) – USC
A veteran of a pro-style offense at a school that has produced two first-round signal-callers in recent years, Booty projects as the No. 9 quarterback available in the NFL Draft according to Scout.com.

"To me, it's a blessing," Booty said when Bear Report asked if following the likes of Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart is a blessing or a curse. "What better motivation than to try to work hard and compete every day at such a high level to be like those guys? That's something I've lived with my whole life. I followed two national players of the year in high school at quarterback (Josh Booty and Brock Berlin), and I followed two Heisman Trophy winners in college. I just continue to follow greatness. To me, that motivates me to be the best that I can be because I want to be one of the great ones, too."

If the Bears decide to use one of their two picks in Round 3 on that proverbial QB of the future, Booty will most certainly be on their radar.

DT Frank Okam (6-4, 347) – Texas
A mammoth of a young man who started for three seasons at one of the top programs in the country, Okam projects as the No. 9 defensive tackle available in the NFL Draft according to Scout.com.

"It isn't at all," Okam said when asked if his weight could be an issue that teams worry about on draft day. "It's something you've got to use to your advantage. Stopping the run is something I'm pretty good at, and I'm going to try to continue that on the next level."

Although Okam certainly looks like a nose tackle with as big and sturdy as he is, he also seems to prefer playing the three-technique position and sees himself as a pretty good pass-rusher.

DT Dre Moore (6-4, 305) – Maryland
A durable player who only missed one game in four seasons during his time in College Park, Moore projects as the No. 5 defensive tackle available in the NFL Draft according to Scout.com.

"It was both," Moore said when Bear Report asked what kind of defense he was primarily playing in with the Terrapins. "We were a base 4-3, but we flexed to a lot of 3-4 stuff kind of depending on the offense's formation and the ball and what the situation was. We flexed back and forth a lot."

Moore played all over the field and says he would be comfortable no matter where he lines up, but it sounded like three-technique was his preferred position as opposed to nose tackle.

DT Kentwan Balmer (6-4 1/2, 308) – North Carolina
A late-bloomer who enjoyed a tremendous jump in productivity from his junior year to his senior year, Balmer projects as the No. 3 defensive tackle available in the NFL Draft according to Scout.com.

"It's just a little quicker," Balmer said when Bear Report asked about the differences between playing nose tackle and the three-technique. "If you're playing nose tackle, things happen a little faster. And then at three, you have a little bit more time to adjust your step. The contact time is a little different. That's pretty much it."

Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune has the Bears taking Balmer with the 14th pick in his latest mock draft, although that might be a little early since he's not as highly regarded as either Glenn Dorsey of LSU or Sedric Ellis of USC.

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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