Bears looking to extend DT Okoye


Bears looking to extend DT Okoye

The Bears have explored a multi-year contract extension for defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, something the former No. 10-overall pick of the Houston Texans would like very much to see come to pass.

I would love to come back as a Bear, love to, Okoye told We have talked so well see where it goes. But I would love to be here.

Coming strictly off the bench this season, Okoye has posted 4 sacks, second-highest total for his career after the 5.5 he had as a rookie in 2007 and tied for ninth in the NFL among defensive tackles.

We are very pleased with Amobi, very pleased, coach Lovie Smith said.

Okoye, who signed a one-year contract on July 30, the same day he was released by the Texans, has been used almost exclusively in a rotation with Henry Melton as the under-tackle. The mission statement is explicit: generate inside pass rush in a lynchpin position of the SmithRod Marinelli scheme.

With Meltons 7 sacks, the Bears have their biggest sack total by two defensive tackles during the Smith era. The previous full-season high had been 9 by Tommie Harris (8) and Darwin Walker (1) in 2007.

Rookie Stephen Paeas 3 give the Bears 14 combined from the defensive tackle position.

Okoye also has been credited with 24 quarterback-pressures, behind only Julius Peppers (49), Israel Idonije (33) and Melton (31), all starters.

Hes a young player whos just been getting better and better, taking coaching, Marinelli said. I like what hes going.

Ideal fit

Okoye was in a 4-3 defense with the Texans but it was different from the 4-3 the Bears play. Okoye, at 290 pounds, is the prototypical under-tackle for the Bears scheme, which is exactly what he played as an All-American at Louisville.

It fits me like a glove, Okoye said. And havent even all the way played to the scheme. Ive been in a different scheme for four years, and Ive been able to catch up in this system, but I know that with time, itll only be better.

Bears show interest in Tulsa pass rusher Trevis Gipson

Bears show interest in Tulsa pass rusher Trevis Gipson

It's early (extremely early) in the 2020 NFL Draft process, and the Bears' team needs between now and when their first pick (No. 43 overall) is on the clock are certain to change. The general consensus right now is that offensive line, tight end and quarterback will be early draft targets, but edge rusher can't be overlooked.

Leonard Floyd's failure to emerge as the pass rusher the Bears need to complement Khalil Mack is a bigger problem than GM Ryan Pace or coach Matt Nagy want to admit. In fact, Floyd's ineffective style of play could cost Chicago a chance at becoming a truly elite defense and potentially limit the astronomical upside Mack has as a generational talent.

If the Bears decide to pull the fifth-year option from Floyd, they'll have no choice but to attack the position early in the 2020 draft. It appears like they're doing their homework for that scenario, too.

Bears scouts met with Tulsa edge rusher Trevis Gipson at length following Wednesday's Senior Bowl practice, an indication that the position is at least high enough on their wish list that extensive homework on pass rushers is being done.

Gipson helped his draft stock at the Senior Bowl and was an early winner among edge rushers at the game. His practice reps confirmed his tape; the dude knows how to get to the quarterback. He had eight sacks in 2019 and plays with a high-energy style that's certain to entice Chicago's coaching staff. He isn't an elite athlete, but he has an appealing frame (34-inch arms) and powerful hands.

Gipson began the week as a late-Day-3 prospect. He helped his stock and may have jumped a round or two along the way.

Bears' rookie class ranked 8th-best in NFL

Bears' rookie class ranked 8th-best in NFL

The Bears didn't have much of a rookie class in 2019. Last April's draft produced just five picks, two of which didn't appear in a regular-season game for the Bears.

But the production of running back David Montgomery was enough to carry the rookie class to a top-10 ranking, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Bears checked-in at eighth.

The Bears have a strange class. They had only five picks, none before Round 3, with three of those five selections coming after Round 6. As a result, their expected return was low. Running back David Montgomery was really the only Bears' rookie to play significant snaps, and he managed to provide enough return from his third-round selection to land them at No. 8.

It's pretty remarkable that Chicago's 2019 rookie class — essentially, Montgomery — garnered this much respect from PFF. Wide receiver Riley Ridley showed signs of life late in the season and cornerback Duke Shelley will be given an opportunity to carve out a role on defense next season, but with running back Kerrith Whyte, Jr. and cornerback Stephen Denmark making no impact whatsoever (Whyte is no longer with the team), the 2019 class won't be remembered as one that laid a championship foundation in Chicago.

Sure, Montgomery has a chance to become one of the NFL's more talented starting running backs (he ended his rookie season with 889 yards and six touchdowns), but if Ridley and Shelley don't turn into legitimate contributors in 2020 or 2021, the class will go down as an epic failure for GM Ryan Pace.

Remember: The Bears didn't have a first-round pick because of the trade for outside linebacker Khalil Mack. That's a win for Pace, but it doesn't change the fact that he had five selections at his disposal and ended up with what appears to be just one impact player after their rookie seasons.