The Bears will be looking for elite pass coverage from cornerback Kyle Fuller, their first-round pick in the 2014 draft. They want pass rush from third-round pick Will Sutton, who had 13 sacks as a junior. They even expect some pocket-push from second-rounder Ego Ferguson, he of one college sack in three years.
But the first three picks of the Bears, who wanted a cornerback in round one and defensive tackles in rounds two and three, have something else in common:
“We were looking for players who are physical at the point of attack,” GM Phil Emery said after the finish of Friday’s two rounds.
The Bears’ woes at stopping the run cost them making the 2013 playoffs at the very least. They were determined to address that problem with both the individuals taken and also with a collective mindset of retaking control of the line of scrimmage.
The success of the Seattle Seahawks in trampling the pass-based Denver Broncos with 135 rushing yards likely leads to copycats emulating the Seattle formula. The Bears will have to earn the right to rush the passer by first stopping inevitable game plans attacking them ground-first.
Ferguson is arguably the anchor of the plan despite being only a rookie. Not since Ted Washington more than a decade ago have the Bears had what projects to be such an immovable object at the defensive core.
Emery, who specifically noted Fuller’s 173 career tackles first, not interceptions or pass breakups, watched multiple games of Ferguson’s and noted one constant:
“He controlled the front,” Emery said, shaking his head. “People could not run the ball up inside when he was on the field.”
And that was the prime directive for the overall defense all this offseason.