Bears

NFL Draft Profile: Tulane CB Lorenzo Doss

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NFL Draft Profile: Tulane CB Lorenzo Doss

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.

Lorenzo Doss (CB), Tulane

5’10” | 182 lbs.

2014 stats:

48 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack, 3 INT

Projection:

5th round

What scouts are saying:

"Doss is a thin but functionally strong cornerback with an overriding desire to compete for every ball thrown his way, which led to 33 passes defensed and 15 interceptions during his three-year stint at Tulane. He wasn't challenged very often in 2014 and his long speed will be revealed in his workouts, but his ball skills and ability to flip the field should gain him additional attention from general managers." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

"Doss has sticky fingers, showing the ability to extend and pluck the ball and quickly control it. He doesn't panic when the ball is in the air, doing a nice job of either locating it and making a play on it himself, or ripping at the hands of receivers as they attempt to secure the catch. Doss was asked to play press, off-man and zone at Tulane and despite leaving with eligibility remaining comes with three years starting experience. He's balanced and controlled in coverage, showing good route anticipation and breaking downhill on the ball. Doss recognizes his run responsibilities and can avoid blockers on his way to the ball-carrier. He'll occasionally lower his shoulder but is generally a duck and swipe tackler, though he does a nice job of getting the ball-carrier to the ground." - Rob Rang, CBSSports.com

Fit for the Bears:

Adding depth at cornerback is certainly a goal for the Bears heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. Doss' ball skills make him an intriguing mid-round target for the Bears. After Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings, the Bears have major question marks in the slot as most of the potential suitors are better fits on special teams. Doss could be a name that Ryan Pace selects in the later rounds to compete for a spot on defense and special teams in 2015. 

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

How the new kickoff rule may impact the Bears

How the new kickoff rule may impact the Bears

NFL owners voted for sweeping changes to the kickoff play Tuesday, a decision that presents a new challenge for Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor.

Player safety was the focus of the rule change. Collisions will be reduced and the play will look more like a punt than the traditional kickoff fans have become used to. Here's a breakdown of what's coming in 2018:

With less contact and physicality in the play, Tabor's game planning will be tested. Kickoffs won't require as many power players like the ones traditionally seen in the wedge block. Skill players like receivers, running backs and tight ends could be viewed as more valuable special teams pieces, as was suggested by NFL Network's Bucky Brooks.

Tarik Cohen could become even more lethal under the new rules. If kick returners end up with more space to navigate, Cohen will improve on the 583 return yards he managed as a rookie. He'll conjure memories of the recently retired Devin Hester.

The ability to contribute on special teams is critically important for players on the roster bubble. It'll be interesting to see if the Bears apply the approach suggested by Brooks. If they do, undrafted players like Matt Fleming and John Franklin III suddenly have more value and a better chance to make the team. 

For a complete breakdown of the new kickoff rule, click here.

Charles Leno dubbed Bears' best-kept secret

Charles Leno dubbed Bears' best-kept secret

Chicago Bears left tackle Charles Leno, Jr. deserves a lot of credit. After starting his career as a seventh-round pick and something of a longshot to ever earn a starting job, he's become an irreplaceable fixture at the most important position along the offensive line.

The four-year, $38 million contract extension he signed last offseason is evidence of that.

Despite his value to the Bears, Leno is still somewhat underrated across league circles. That may be about to change.

Leno was recently named Chicago's best-kept secret.

Leno has consistently improved as a pass protector since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2014 and is now one of the team's top 10 players. If he hit the open market, Leno might be a $60 million player with the way the offensive line market is exploding. Over the next four years, the Bears should save about $20 million on the market price for their starting-caliber left tackle.

Leno has enjoyed steady improvement since his rookie season. His grades from Pro Football Focus reflect that: 53.6 (2014), 56.3 (2015), 71.2 (2016) and 80.4 (2017). 

The Bears' offensive line is poised for a big season in 2018. Leno and Bobby Massie are back as starters at tackle. Rookie second-round pick James Daniels will pair with Kyle Long at guard and third-year pro, Cody Whitehair, will get back to focusing on being the team's starting center.

If Leno's trend of improved play continues, he's a great candidate to go from best-kept secret to league star in 2018.