By Greg Gabriel–
Editor’s note: You can read Gabriel’s other scouting reports on highly regarded NFL Draft prospects by clicking here.
(CBS) It’s a near lock that the Bears will select a defensive lineman sometime in draft in late April. If they don’t use their No. 3 overall pick on a player like Alabama’s Jonathan Allen or Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, then it could be a good bet that they use their second-round pick on one.
One player who would both fill the need and be good value in the second round is Michigan defensive lineman Chris Wormley. At 6-foot-5, 298 pounds with long arms and the frame to carry 310 to 315, Wormley has ideal size to play the 5-technique in the Bears’ defense.
He’s an excellent athlete for his position. While he didn’t work out at the NFL Combine, Wormley ran 4.85 in the 40-yard dash; had 31.5-inch vertical jump; 9-foot, 2-inch mark in the long jump; and a 7.08-second time in the three-cone drill. Those were all good marks.
A fifth-year senior, Wormley was a starter at Michigan since midway through his redshirt sophomore year. He’s a steady player with good instincts and though he’s not flashy, he’s a consistent playmaker against both the run and pass. His production over the last two seasons was excellent with 83 total tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.
In the Michigan scheme, Wormley lined up mostly outside on base downs. In passing situations, he could be used either inside or outside. Once he gets to the NFL, he will always be lined up inside on passing downs.
In order for a defensive lineman to be successful, he has to be instinctive with quick reactions, and Wormley has displayed those traits. He consistently gets rid of blocks and finds his way to the ball. His skill set allows him to play in a one- or two-gap scheme. Most defensive linemen coming out of college are better suited to play in one scheme or the other, but Wormley has the talent to be productive in a four-man or three-man front.
In a four-man front, he can play left end or the 3-technique, while in a 3-4 he can line up at either defensive end position and play the 5-technique. His strength and hand use allow him to be a consistent two-gap player and hold the point.
I’ve no doubt that Wormley will be a solid contributor as a rookie. Wormley is a player that the Bears coaching staff knows well, having coached him at the Senior Bowl. So if the Bears should select him in the second round, they know they have a good player with upside.
Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.