Bears

NFL Draft Profile: Arizona State DE Marcus Hardison

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NFL Draft Profile: Arizona State DE Marcus Hardison

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of 200 prospects, including what the scouts around the league are saying and video interviews with each player.

Marcus Hardison (DE), Arizona State

6’3” | 307 lbs.

2014 stats:

53 tackles, 15 TFL, 10 sacks, 2 INT, 3 forced fumbles

Projection:

3rd round

What scouts are saying:

"A defensive end turned three-technique in a 4-3 defense with outstanding initial quickness off the snap and the hands and feet to be a disruptive, upfield player against plodding guards. Hardison needs more muscle in his lower body and is unlikely to fit defensive schemes looking for stack-and-shed interior defenders. Hardison has starting potential and might be able to come in as a situational pass rusher early on." - NFL.com's Lance Zierlein

"Consistently times snap, and has the quick twitch to turn this trait into a quick penetration and win from inside. Has good arm length. Understands how to keep blockers away from his frame as pass rusher and brings force behind his hands. Rarely square as a pass rusher, using shoulder and hip turn to get skinny and turn corner. Good hand fighter. Comes out of stance with low pad level and looks to capture an edge against the run. Puts something behind his tackles. Showed rapid improvement from midpoint of season all the way through Senior Bowl week." - NFL.com's Lance Zierlein

"More finesse than physical. Isn't as stout against the run as his size would indicate and struggles against double-teams. Relies upon his initial burst to penetrate, showing limited hand technique and strength to disengage once opponents lock on. Possesses only average balance for his position, too often getting knocked off his feet. Comes with typical one-year-wonder questions about his dedication and if the same intensity will be there after signing an NFL contract." - CBS Sports' Rob Rang

Fit for the Bears:

Ryan Pace & Co. already signed DEs Jarvis Jenkins and Ray McDonald this offseason, but their future beyond next season remains unclear with one-year contracts. The Bears will likely look for a defensive end in the 2015 NFL Draft who can fit right into Vic Fangio's 3-4 defense. Hardison could make for a good pick by the Bears on Day 2 — a player that has starting potential.

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Chris Simms says Bears are a dangerous team entering Week 15

Chris Simms says Bears are a dangerous team entering Week 15

The Bears have completely flipped the narrative of their 2019 season over the last three weeks, thanks in large part to Matt Nagy's offense finally resembling the 202-level that was promised last summer.

It may have taken quarterback Mitch Trubisky a little longer than expected to arrive this year, but if his last two games are an indication of his development in his second season under Nagy's tutelage, the Bears have a bonafide quarterback. And it's been a while since that could be said.

"Mitchell Trubisky is hot, there's no doubt about it," NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms said Thursday. "He seems so much more comfortable. Decisive. He's accurate with the football. Running around at the proper time. I don't think it was all Mitchell Trubisky's fault with the struggles of the offense, either."

Those struggles spanned the first half of 2019 when Chicago seemed incapable of sustaining drives or scoring points. It began with Week 1's three-point output against the Packers and continued through Thanksgiving Day when Trubisky finally got his mojo back, throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions.

With Trubisky clicking, and the running game receiving a jolt from rookie David Montgomery's productive back-to-back weeks (in which he's averaged more than four yards per carry in successive games for the first time all year), the Bears appear capable of beating just about anyone. 

They'll need to. If Chicago wants to keep their weak playoff pulse going, they have to win out. And that includes games against the Packers, Chiefs and Vikings. 

The odds seem stacked against them, and it's their own fault. It took way too long to get the offense going, but it's better late than never. 

According to Simms, the Bears are that team no one wants to play.

"They're a dangerous team right now. They really are."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Bears QB Big Board, 6.0: It's Mitch Trubisky's job to lose

Bears QB Big Board, 6.0: It's Mitch Trubisky's job to lose

Just when it appeared like Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was entering his final half-season as the team's unquestioned starting quarterback, the last month happened.

Trubisky's play has steadily improved over the last five games and reached what may have been his watermark moment in Week 14 against the Cowboys. He completed 74% of his passes for 244 yards and three passing touchdowns while adding a season-high 63 rushing yards and a score on the ground. It marked the second week in a row that Trubisky's completed over 74% of his passes; he connected on 76% of his throws a week earlier against the Lions.

Trubisky's recent success is a far cry from the mentally broken player he was after the first month of the season. He has his confidence back. In fact, he's playing with more confidence than he's ever shown as a pro. His recent success is a direct and obvious result of his evolution between the ears.

The Bears were circled as a team that was likely to be in the quarterback market this offseason because of how terrible Trubisky looked early in 2019. And there's still a chance that GM Ryan Pace will look to add some healthy competition to the roster, but if Trubisky continues to play well, that competition will be for the backup job. 

It's also worth noting that one of the more appealing quarterback targets this offseason probably won't make it to the open market. Titans starter Ryan Tannehill continues to enjoy a remarkable comeback season and appears destined to sign a long-term extension with Tennessee sooner than later. After Tannehill, the discount quarterback rack includes names like Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota, players who a month ago would've been viewed as marked upgrades over Trubisky.

It doesn't feel like that's the case anymore.

Barring a massive regression from Trubisky over the next three games, it's starting to feel like he's winning back Chicago's confidence one game at a time. 

With all that in mind, here's the updated Bears QB Big Board entering Week 15:

Bears QB Big Board (Dec. 12, 2019)

1. Mitch Trubisky (Bears)
previous: 2 (Dec. 3)

2. Andy Dalton (Bengals)
previous: 1 (Dec. 3)

3. Ryan Tannehill (Titans)
previous: 3  (Dec. 3)

4. Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
previous: 4 (Dec. 3)

5. Marcus Mariota (Titans)
previous: 5 (Dec. 3)

6. Teddy Bridgewater (Saints)
previous: 6 (Dec. 3)

Outside looking in (list cut down to three)...

-Jake Fromm (Georgia)
previous: outside looking in (Dec. 3)

-Jameis Winston (Buccaneers)
previous: outside looking in (Dec. 3)

- Cam Newton (Panthers)
previous: outside looking in (Dec. 3)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.