By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects who could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Hand: 9 7/8
College Career: After a dominating sophomore season, Nix was slowed by a knee issue in 2013 and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in November. He opted to go pro instead of trying to improve draft stock with one more collegiate season.
Strengths: Surprising quickness for his size. Good burst off the snap. Always in pursuit when able to stay on his feet. Above-average run-stuffer who eats up space. Scheme versatile as either a 3-4 nose or 4-3 one-technique. Engaging personality who will fit well in most locker rooms.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t shed blocks well. Once he’s locked onto, he’s stuck. Doesn’t possess good balance. Falls down too often, taking him out of the play. Doesn’t provide much value rushing the passer. Knee was an issue before he tore the meniscus, which is a red flag. Durability is a concern. Older junior prospect who turns 23 in July.
Bears Outlook: Nix would be a boost to the Bears’ run defense right away, but he lacks the upside of Timmy Jernigan and won’t contribute much against the pass. However, Nix is battled tested and, if healthy, should contribute quickly as a rookie. The Bears need depth at defensive tackle, but it’s not like they need an immediate starter, and it might be smarter to go with a player with a higher ceiling. Nix would be a reach at No. 14 overall, but he would provide value if he’s still around in the second round.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.