By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Film from Adam Shaheen’s days at Division-II Ashland University showed a dominant force on the football field. At 6-foot-6 and 277 pounds, he towered over most opponents.
Shaheen was near impossible to stop in college. Defenses couldn’t match with his size and athleticism in the open field. But life is far different in NFL mini-camp, where the defensive linemen and even some linebackers are just as big and imposing.
That’s just part of his adjustment to this level, but Shaheen feels he can be a force at this major next step up.
“I feel I can really step my level up and be a great tight end in this league,” Shaheen said Tuesday after his first mini-camp practice.
The Bears’ second-round pick in the April draft, Shaheen has made major impressions since arriving in Chicago. Despite the fact that he’s making a major jump in competition from Division-II to the NFL, he certainly looks the part.
Bears coach John Fox, often careful with his praise, spoke highly of what he’s seeing from Shaheen — both as a target in the passing game and a blocker in the trenches.
“Our scouting department did a great job as far as evaluating him,” Fox said of Shaheen. “(He possesses) a lot of the tools it takes to play in our league at his position. He’s picked things up very quick. He’s smart, he’s big.
“A lot of times, tight ends that cross over from college football to the NFL, the hardest thing is the blocking. But he has a lot of that measurables that it takes to do it.”
Shaheen is now roommates with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the second overall pick. The two have become close off the field, a relationship they believe will carry to the offense.
The Bears believe in what Shaheen can become the same way they do Trubisky. There’s hope at Halas Hall that the team has a talented tandem in the works.
“He could be a great target,” Trubisky said of Shaheen. “I think we have a really special group of tight ends in general, but Adam’s got that big frame, he has really good feet for his routes and he’s got unbelievable hands.”