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.
Martin Ifedi (DE), Memphis
6’3” | 275 lbs.
29 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 passes defended
7th round-free agent
What scouts are saying:
"His lack of athleticism and skill as a pass rusher could hurt his draft stock, but Ifedi has the strength and toughness to be considered as a left end with run-stopping potential in a 4-3 defense." - NFL.com's Lance Zierlein
"Slow-twitch, one-speed pass rusher. Not elusive -- offensive linemen always know where to find him. Pops straight up out of stance. Looks unnatural when twisting. Appears to lack an accelerator. Slows feet before contact as pass rusher. Missed four games due to injury in 2014. Misleading sack numbers his sophomore and junior year, with most coming on second effort or with quarterback hanging onto ball too long." - NFL.com's Lance Zierlein
"Solidly-built frame and has worked hard to add weight and fill out. Good upper body strength with the length (33-inch arms) and wingspan to toss blockers and corral ballcarriers. Strong hands to finish once he makes contact, breaking down well in space to close and attack. Impressive recognition skills and ball awareness, using his eyes to locate, track and pursue. Disciplined run defender on the edges to take away the corner and contain, forcing the action back inside and allowing his teammates to make the stop. Plays with fight and works hard to stay square, not taking himself out of plays. Good play speed with a locked in motor, rallying to the football. Tough worker with mature football character and a likeable personality. Versatile experience lining up inside and outside at several defensive line positions. School's all-time leader in sacks (22.5) as a three-year starter (31 career starts)." - CBS Sports' Dane Brugler
Fit for the Bears:
Ifedi doesn't seem to have the pass rushing skills that would make him a threat on defense, but as a 3-4 defensive end, the Memphis product projects to anchor well against the run. The Bears could use Ifedi as depth on the defensive line and he could push to make the field for special teams if Ryan Pace decides to take a waiver on the former Tiger.
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The Chicago Bears are counting on Mitch Trubisky to have a breakout season in 2018. His rookie year was strong, but for the Bears to emerge as a playoff contender, the second-year passer must enjoy a Jared Goff-like improvement.
There's no doubting the talent Trubisky possesses in his right arm. And with a plethora of new weapons at his disposal, his production should make him appealing to fantasy football owners. But he may do more than just throw touchdowns.
"I'd definitely like to catch some touchdowns and some passes, that would be cool," Trubisky said at Halas Hall after Wednesday's OTAs. "The sky's the limit with this offense, just the creativeness that these coaches bring, there's going to be a lot of fun plays. We get the base ones down first and hopefully, we can have some fun trick plays."
Trey Burton was signed in free agency to provide a weapon for Trubisky at tight end, but he may end up throwing a few passes before the year is out. He was on the quarterback end of the famous Super Bowl LII touchdown pass (the Philly Special) to Nick Foles and spent time at quarterback as a freshman at the University of Florida.
Don't forget about Tarik Cohen, either. He attempted two passes in 2017, completing one for a touchdown (21 yards) to Zach Miller.
Trubisky is the kind of rare athlete at quarterback who an offensive coordinator can legitimately devise a few trick plays for, adding just another wrinkle in the new-era of Bears offensive football set to launch in September.
Mitch Trubisky met with reporters after OTAs on Wednesday and addressed the NFL owners' unanimous approval of a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field while it's performed. If they don't want to stand, they can remain in the locker room or teams will be subject to fines.
The Bears avoided the media firestorm around the national anthem last season. No one on the roster kneeled. Instead, teammates locked arms and Trubisky believes it will be more of the same in 2018.
"I’m just proud of how our team handled last year. It's in the past and I believe we’ll all stand on the field together this year," Trubisky told reporters at Halas Hall. "It is what it is. I think it’s all about eliminating distractions for the team and for the audience. Just represent yourself and the organization in the right manner.”
STANKEVITZ: NFL Anthem policy won’t keep Sam Acho, others from standing up for what they believe in
Trubisky is the unquestioned leader of the Bears, only one year removed from Mike Glennon's proclamation that this was his team. Now, with a new coach and elevated expectations, Trubisky must weather the off-field issues that naturally come with a leadership role.
No off-field issue is bigger than a comment by the President of the United States, which happened Thursday in response to the national anthem policy during in an interview on "Fox and Friends".
“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it’s good," Trump said. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
This is an issue that isn't going away anytime soon. Fortunately, Trubisky appears ready to shoulder the heavy burden and potential strain a social issue like this can bring to a locker room.