Dion Sims explains why he 'loved' Bears' draft pick of Adam Shaheen

Dion Sims explains why he 'loved' Bears' draft pick of Adam Shaheen

The Bears double-dipped in free agency and the draft at three positions this year: Quarterback (Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky), safety (Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson) and tight end (Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen). Drafting Trubisky necessitated a conversation between the front office and Glennon to affirm it's still his year

“You’re not really excited, whether it was outside linebackers a year ago or wide receivers the year before,” coach John Fox said. “And you allow them that.”

Dion Sims, who signed a three-year, $18 million contract this spring, doesn’t sound like someone who needed that same talk when the Bears drafted Shaheen with the 45th pick. 

“I loved it,” Sims said. “He’s a big guy, (6-foot-6, 277 pounds), it was exciting just to have him here and the things that he can do to help us.

“I feel like he brings a lot to the table and creates mismatches and trouble for opposing safeties and linebackers. It’s great news and it’s exciting for him to come and be under all the tight ends and learning.”

Of course, only one quarterback can be on the field at a time, while there are plenty of scenarios that’ll have both Sims and Shaheen on the field over the next few years. The Bears guaranteed $10 million to Sims in his three-year, $18 million contract, so the 26-year-old has job security regardless of how quickly Shaheen develops. 

Sims is regarded as one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL, but he wasn’t always proficient in that area of his game. NFL.com’s draft profile of him back in 2013 included the line “Not a mauling blocker like his size would indicate,” which is similar to this in NFL.com’s draft writeup on Shaheen: “Needs work as run blocker but has desired frame of a Y-tight end.”

Sims said becoming a good blocking tight end mostly involves having the “will and want” to develop the right technique. Like Sims as a rookie, Shaheen already has the size and bulk necessary to become a quality blocker. 

How quickly Shaheen makes an impact on the Bears offense depends on how he develops as a blocker, but more importantly, on how quickly he picks up the concepts of Dowell Loggains’ system. Sims sees a bright future for the Division II product if Shaheen can pick things up in both of those areas. 

“I think he’s doing a great job so far,” Sims said. “His head is swimming right now for all the stuff he has to learn with the offense. I remember my rookie year it was the same way. I’m pretty sure he’ll play a lot faster — he’s playing pretty fast right now. But once he picks up the offense, he’s going to be special.” 

Contract signed, Bears tight end Adam Shaheen seeks more growth

Contract signed, Bears tight end Adam Shaheen seeks more growth

As the Bears announced their signing of second round draft pick Adam Shaheen Friday afternoon, it brought us back to CSN Chicago's visit with his position coach following the first day of rookie minicamp one week earlier. 

In addition to veteran Zach Miller and free agent signee Dion Sims, tight ends coach Frank Smith has another fairly "green" player at the position in Daniel Brown, who was converted from wide receiver by Baltimore a year ago, and showed signs of promise with 16 catches over the final six games after the Bears picked him up when the Ravens ran out of roster space last October. Former Southern Illinois tight end MyCole Pruitt was active the final two games (one reception) after Minnesota cut him in December.

Now, Shaheen and his huge size and upside, gets thrown into the on-field mix when organized team activities pick up steam at Halas Hall next week.

"The thing when you’re of that size, to control your body and move and be sudden in your routes, those are traits that he has possessed," said Smith. "Everything you saw on tape you’re starting to see, and just as he grows and we start adding more concepts, it’ll be exciting to see how he grasps that, and using his skillset as a player to fit in the offense."

Still, when you're 6'6, 277 lbs. and just three years into devoting yourself back to football, long striders like that sometimes lack a certain fluidity. And heck, the great Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots still sometimes lacks that look on the field too. The dance floor? That's different. But Smith knows his newest pupil is in the infant stages of a growing process, learning the intricacies of his trade at the highest level now.

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"There’s been guys from 1-AA, D-II, all those guys," Smith said. "I think the real expectation for him right now is learning his playbook, learning his techniques, because the volume of stuff will be a little bit more. But the expectation for him is just every day improve, work on one thing a day, work on a technique, and that will build your portfolio as you go forward."

Inquiring minds of Bears fans prefer an answer immediately on whether such a high investment from Ashland (the Ohio university, not the Chicago street or southwest side neighborhood) is worth it. It's a little early for that. But what about Shaheen's inquiring mind?

"At this point, any and all questions you're looking for," Smith said. "He's asking good questions, has a very good grasp of football, understands more than just what his play is. He understands for the most part what we're trying to do with concepts."

There is no question Shaheen now faces a step up in class and competition. But Smith believes the fact he was moved around within multiple sets in his college offense will help that process along.

"That actually follows with guys maybe from even 1-A who run a spread system, and they never put their hand in the dirt," he said. "So really, you could have a guy who played maybe at some major school, but they never played in-line tight end. So you have that background. So just knowing that every day, every challenge is - and I think this goes for anyone - is play each play.  Play each moment and work on your daily stuff that you’re trying to improve on with your game."

Bears sign tight end Adam Shaheen to four-year contract

Bears sign tight end Adam Shaheen to four-year contract

And then there was one.

The Bears signed tight end Adam Shaheen to a four-year contract on Friday afternoon, leaving quarterback Mitch Trubsiky as the only remaining unsigned member of their 2017 Draft class.

Shaheen, the 45th overall pick, hauled in 57 passes for 867 yards and 16 touchdowns at Division II Ashland in 2016. Shaheen was a two-time AFCA All-American during his time at Ashland.

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The 6-foot-6, 278 pound Shaheen began his collegiate career at Pittsburgh-Johnstown as a basketball player. He transferred to Ashland to play football in 2014.

Shaheen will likely head into training camp as the Bears' No. 3 tight end behind starter Zach Miller and backup Dion Sims.