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.”