Michael Buchanan (DE), Illinois
6-6 | 255 lbs.
64 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 1 FF; second team All-Big Ten
In the current state of the NFL, where defensive coordinators are looking for as many different ways to confuse offenses with as many different schemes as possible, there's nothing as valuable as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker. Buchanan has fantastic speed off the edge and can get to the quarterback. He's versatile and could potentially see time outside, if teams decide to make him quicker instead of bulkier.
Size is an issue for Buchanan, and he will need to put up some serious weight if he wants to play in a three-point stance. He likely isn't quick enough to become anything other than a pass rusher in a 3-4 defense, so there are questions as to how versatile he can be depending on how he progresses. He doesn't have much strength off the edge, rather using his agility, and he'll need to become more diverse in his moves to get to the quarterback at the pro level.
Fit for the Bears:
It's no secret that Julius Peppers isn't getting any younger, and the Bears haven't made an offer on free-agent Israel Idonije. Right now Corey Wootton is a solid piece to the Bears' defensive line puzzle, but questions remain as to whether or not Shea McClellin will stay at defensive end or potentially move to outside linebacker. That could leave room for the Bears to take a chance on a defensive end. Buchanan is a project, to be sure, since he still needs to put on weight before he ever has the chance to become an every-down end, but having Peppers as a mentor wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Plus, Buchanan is an in-state guy with potential.