Below, you can find an in depth scouting profile for the Chicago Bears 2021 Draft class. I also included one UDFA that was ranked highly on multiple big boards. Prospects are listed in order of where they were drafted. Prospect details were accumulated from the following sources:
Within each prospects profile, I have listed their respective Big Board ranks based on the average of 12 big boards analyzed. Additionally, I included the big board ranks from the three analysts who graded the best for that position. Analyst grades by position are detailed below, and the full analysis can be seen here.
*It should be noted that the 2021 big boards for Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. were identical, and therefore are considered to be one “analyst” for the purposes of this article.
QB Justin Fields
Fields grew up in Kennesaw, GA. He was a standout in basketball, baseball (SS), and football. He began playing QB at an early age, and began working with a personal QB coach in middle school. In high school, he started six games on the varsity squad as a sophomore, and broke out in his junior season. About half way through his senior season he broke his finger, cutting his season short. He still earned 2017 Class 6A Offensive Player of the Year honors for his senior season.
He was a five-star recruit out of high school, and ranked as the top dual threat QB in the country, and the number two recruit in the country behind only Trevor Lawrence. After originally committing to Penn State as a junior, he flipped his commitment to Georgia six months later. After one season at Georgia as Jake Fromm’s backup, he chose to enter the transfer portal as it became clear that he would not be given a fair shot at unseating Fromm. Fields transfered to Ohio State with immediate eligibility following a waiver that claimed that Fields was the target of racial insults by a Georgia baseball player that was later dismissed by the team.
Fields father is a police officer and served in the Marines. He played one season as a linebacker at Eastern Kentucky. His younger sister plays softball at Georgia.
When you have an arm like Fields does, and you can put the football where you want to, I just don’t know why there is a debate about this guy. While he still has a lot to work through, Fields has incredible upside and could be one of the best QBs in the NFL with the right coaching. Confidence in his arm is clear, but he doesn’t throw many interceptions despite being so aggressive. Fields has prototypical size & build, with an elite toolbox of athletic abilities. He worked almost exclusively out of shotgun in college.
Fields is a strong fit for RPO or zone read concepts, and could excel in a west coast offense. Leadership traits are evident for the Ohio State product, and he’s willing to play through pain. Fields must speed up processing at the next level and avoid holding the ball for too long. He can take unnecessary hits when confused by defensive looks. He needs to clean up his mechanics and improve his spiral. While Fields has a few blips that that push his game back, his overall athleticism and toughness are hard to overlook.
Stats to Know:
- Has led his teams to a 35-6 record (High School: 15-4 / College: 20-2)
- In college, scored 86 TDs versus 9 INTs
- 70% of his passing yards in college came through the air (vs YAC) (PFF)
- Only had 18 turnover worthy plays in his college career (PFF)
- Adjusted Completion Percentage of 81% in 2020 (PFF)
- Great accuracy/ball placement
- Elite athletic toolbox with untapped arm potential
- Rare combination of size & mobility
- Has shown toughness to play through injury
- Voted team captain in 2020
- Even keeled with the same steadiness on each play
- Ultra competitive, mentality resonates with teammates
- Strong arm with ability to drive the ball
- Explosive runner when he takes off
- Pre-determined reads, often chose pre-snap and misses better options
- Undeveloped field vision, locks onto his preferred read (sometimes by design)
- Throwing mechanics can get messy, not delivering crisp spiral (untapped arm talent)
- Penchant for heroics can lead to poor ball security & injuries
- Needs to get quicker with eliminations post snap, increase sense of urgency when reading
- Has shown a penchant to force throws rather than taking what defense gives him
- 12 fumbles in 22 games
Fields has tried to style his play after Russell Wilson, so with size being the only real differentiator there regarding their abilities, I thought it fit well. I have also heard people say a smaller Cam Newton. Donovan McNabb fits as his most likely comparable. Fields is more explosive as a runner than McNabb was, but I feel they play in a similar fashion as athletes with big arms who keep their eyes downfield. Mariota would be the floor. Similar athletic traits & size, coming from similar colleges with histories of QBs producing more than their individual talent.
OT Teven Jenkins
Teven Jenkins was born and raised in Topeka, KS. He began playing football at seven years of age. In high school, he was a star athlete playing baseball, basketball, and football. He played right tackle in high school, earning All-State honors his senior year. He was a three-star recruit, ranking as the number 85 OT prospect in his class. Jenkins chose Oklahoma State over offers from Kansas State, Louisville, Missouri, and Nebraska. He graduated in 2020 with his degree in sociology.
Jenkins was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State, playing 26 games at RT, seven games at LT, and two games at RG. He showed versatility and a high football IQ that allowed him to play multiple spots across the OL when needed. Jenkins did not allow a sack in his junior or senior year while playing in a high flying attack.
On the field, Jenkins shows a tendency to tie up pass rushers early, using his good body control to stay attached. He makes it a point to finish with a purpose, and once he gets the upper hand he drops his opponent faster than fourth period French. Jenkins suffers from balance problems at times when he leans into blocks. He prefers power over technique, which can lead to issues with speed rushers.
Stats to Know:
- Only 2 sacks allowed in the past 3 years, and no sacks allowed in the last 2 years (PFF)
- Only 3 QB Hits allowed in the last 3 years (PFF)
- Hulking frame with brute strength
- Explodes off the LOS with force
- Aggressive and violent hands deflect pass rushers reach
- Obtains foot quickness to reach his points in shuffle and seal the edge
- Quickly transitions when executing combo blocks, looking for and often finding work
- Coaches describe him as highly intelligent
- Mean spirited and finishes with an attitude
- Less than ideal length forces him to catch when he misses his punch, and allows long-armed rushers into his chest
- Waist bender, relying on his upper half more than his feet
- Struggles with speed running the circle due to lapses in technique
- Hand placement and timing is not coordinated mid-shuffle
- Late to pick up on inside moves
OL Larry Borom
Larry Borom grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. His first love was basketball, playing on the AAU circuit. In high school, he was convinced to try out for the football team as a freshman. He had never played football before. In his four years, he played both sides of the line, including OG and OT. He was a three-star recruit out of high school, and ranked as the number 62 guard prospect in his class.
Borom was a two-year starter at Mizzou, playing one game at LT, two games at LG, and 16 games at RT. Mizzou ran a motion heavy, up-tempo, pro-style offense. Borom’s 2020 tape was very good in the first half of the season, but tailed off in the second half of the year. He is a massive human being, with good enough movement traits and a mean streak. His game does not always look pretty, but he is a mauler through and through. His heavy hands and anchor ability are things that should transfer to the next level. In order to find success in the pros, he must become more of a technician with his hand timing and placement in order to mask his lack of range and flexibility.
Stats to Know:
- Only 2 sacks allowed in the past 3 years (PFF)
- Only 5 QB Hits allowed in the past 3 years (PFF)
- Big, proportionate body
- Good enough balance and movement ability for his size
- Core and anchor strength lead to ability to absorb force
- Body strength can make for leverage with his frame
- Physical and powerful hands when he lands, looks to hit before he can get hit
- Forceful in the run game, ability to impose his will
- Lacks length, allowing rushers into his frame
- Slow footed, struggles with quick gap shooters if he doesn’t land and grip
- Poor leverage, often loosing leverage mid-play
- Inconsistent with hand placement and timing; can lead to holding calls or missed blocks
- Poor mechanics in pass pro and run game
RB Khalil Herbert
Khalil Herbert grew up in south Florida, and started playing football when he was young. He played offensive and defensive line until high school. His senior year, he transferred to a new school to boost recruitment, joining a high school roster with future FBS players like Patrick Surtain and Tyson Campbell. Herbert also ran track throughout high school. Ranked as a three-star recruit, he was considered the number 143 running back prospect in his class.
Kansas was the only Power Five school to give Herbert an offer. In his first three years at Kansas, he shared the workload with Pooka Williams. In his senior year, Williams passed him on the depth chart, and Herbert chose to sit out the season after the first four games in order to preserve his redshirt. The 2019 season resulted in a strained relationship between Herbert and new Kansas head coach Les Miles. For the 2020 season, Herbert transferred to Virginia Tech, where he went on to earn second-team All-ACC, while leading the ACC in all-purpose yards. He had already obtained his degree in business administration in his time at Kansas.
His oldest brother ran track at D2 St. Augustine, winning four national championships. Another older brother played wide receiver at Stanford from 2013-2016. Herbert was born with 12 fingers and 11 toes. His nickname is “Juice”.
Herbert experienced a breakout senior season in Virginia Tech’s inside/outside zone scheme. Herbert had a penchant for flash plays in his time at Kansas, but found consistency at Virginia Tech. He became the first 1,000 yard rusher at Virginia Tech since 2015. Herbert is a balanced athlete who has very good field vision. He shows a strong ability to read the blocks in front of him and attack the hole to the next level once presented. Herbert shows a tendency to overly rely on breaking outside and is a relatively unproven pass catcher/blocker, but has a knack for creating plays with his feet, eyes, and decisions all tied together.
Stats to Know:
- 57% of his yards in 2020 came after contact (Brugler)
- Only 1 fumble in his college career, across over 500 touches (Brugler)
- Strong lower body athleticism and explosion to shoot through gaps
- Shows tempo and good field vision in a ZBS attack
- Sinks hips while navigating traffic to find daylight
- Physical through contact
- Secure ball carrier
- Coaches praise his studious nature and focus in meetings
- Provides kick return experience
- Tendency to over rely on east-west runs
- Can get downhill early at times, running into own blockers
- Unproven and inexperienced as a pass target and blocker
- Nagging injuries have been a recurring issue
WR Dazz Newsome
Dazz Newsome grew up in Hampton, VA. In high school, he played on both sides of the football (CB and WR). He made a move to RB as a senior, scoring 35 TDs across all three phases (offense, defense, ST). Newsome also ran track. He was a three-star recruit out of high school, ranking as the number 70 athlete in his class (positionless). When he committed to North Carolina, he was expecting to play CB and be a return man, but he was moved to WR during his first year. His father played LB at Virginia Tech, and played two seasons in the CFL. His older brother played safety and WR at Virginia Tech from 2013-2017.
Newsome was a four-year starter at North Carolina, operating primarily out of the slot. In his time at North Carolina, he became one of the most prolific pass catchers in school history. Newsome is a versatile threat who is capable of creating explosive plays in the running, receiving, and return game. He shows strong vision, elusiveness, and a good understanding of spacing as an open field runner. He is a high-level competitor, but needs to learn to be more detailed in his play. Newsome must become more disciplined in his routes and reliability, but his athleticism and competitive nature make him project as an eventual fit in the slot, with added benefit as a punt returner.
Stats to Know:
- Has achieved 14+ broken tackles in each of the past 3 years (PFF)
- Won 11/16 contested catch opportunities over the past 2 years (PFF)
- Shorter frame carries good weight with plenty of muscle
- Does a good job of catching with hands rather than body
- Transitions seamlessly from pass catcher to ball carrier
- Comfortable working over the middle
- Good burst on release, with ability to shake trailing coverage and vision to find soft spots
- Plus punt return ability
- Average size and catch radius
- Gets caught looking at where he’s going before he has finished the catch (bobbles, muffs, drops)
- Route running is not detailed, freelancing can lead to timing problems
- Slot-only option
- Served a one-game suspension for oversleeping and missing practice
CB Thomas Graham Jr.
Thomas Graham Jr. grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. He started playing football when he was six years old, with the sport being his primary athletic focus. In high school, he played on the varsity squad all four seasons. In his senior season, he played both sides of the football (CB and WR). He also ran track. Graham was a four-star recruit out of high school, ranking as the number 11 CB prospect in his class. His father played CB at San Jose City College before academics cut down his potential. Graham’s older sister was an all-state hurdler and is currently attending UNLV on a scholarship.
Graham was a three-year starter at Oregon, serving as the “Field CB”, playing both man and zone concepts. He is considered to be coachable and confident, with a competitive spirit. Plays with a high football IQ, quickly sorting out what is in front of him and instantly reacting. Has shown a knack for disrupting passing windows. He plays with a good sense of urgency, but is not an explosive athlete and does not possess the athletic ability to recover from missteps. Although he lacks the high-end physical traits, he is a student of the game who works to stay on top of routes and make plays.
Stats to Know:
- Forced incompletions on 15.9% of targets over the last 2 years (PFF)
- 8 INTs and 40 PD’s across his 40-game college career
- Efficient in his drop, and controlled in his movements
- Shows good hip discipline, with an easy turn and positions himself well to shadow routes
- Times his attack of the catch point very well
- Strong ball production (8 INTs, 40 PDs, 40 games)
- A willing tackler with good wrap up technique and finishing ability
- Navigates blocks well against the run
- Described as smart, mature, and a student of the game by his coaches
- Lacks explosiveness
- Just average speed for the position (4.49 40-yard dash); struggles to make up ground once a WR gains a step
- Only average drive speed to attack the catch point
- Needs to improve spacing in off coverage to make up for average short area quickness
DL Khyiris Tonga
Khyiris Tonga grew up in West Valley, UT. In high school, he played TE, DE, and saw reps on the OL. His high school career saw three different head coaches, several injuries, and only 10 wins. He found himself in trouble as a senior, and was forced to sit out his senior season. Tonga also played Rugby in high school. As a three-star recruit he signed with Utah, which was his childhood team, before transferring to BYU the next year in order to follow his defensive coordinator. At BYU, he switched from DE to the interior DL due to his size.
In high school, the Tonga family adopted Khyiris after his mother was no longer able to care for him. His father was not in the picture.
Tonga was a three-year starter at BYU, serving as the nose tackle in their multiple front scheme. He often lined up in the zero-technique, head on with the center. He struggled through a tough childhood, finding direction through his adopted family, church, and BYU football. Tonga is an aggressive space eater, and very active in the trenches. He uses his quickness and upper body strength to shed blocks. While he has improved his conditioning and chase skills, his pad level and anchor need to be more consistent. In the NFL, he will be limited in third down spots, but his power and hand usage will serve well in a rotational NT role.
Stats to Know:
- 2020 run stop rate of 9.3% ranks within the 90th percentile among the college ranks (PFF)
- Big frame with functional mass
- Can anchor versus double teams and eat up force
- Active hands with angry intentions
- Keeps eyes up in the backfield, with above average pursuit for a NT
- Physical tackler who rarely misses
- Fully bought into a strict conditioning plan in 2020 that has changed his body
- Lacks length
- Plays with poor leverage, diminishing his base strength
- Lacks fluidity in hips and ankles to change course
- Can get put on tracks by more explosive athletes
- Aggressive hands can lack purpose
- Lacks secondary moves in the pass rush, generally raw in his pass rush toolbox
- Has had some injury issues, including back surgery in 2018
EDGE Charles Snowden
Raised in Silver Springs, MD. Played football on and off growing up, primarily focusing on basketball. After transferring to an all-male boarding school his junior year, he re-classified as a sophomore to continue his basketball career. He got the itch for football while standing in the stands for the season opener of his junior year, and despite not having played football since the sixth grade, he went to the coaches and joined the team contributing on defense. His senior year, he started at LB and WR.
Snowden was a three-star recruit coming out of high school, ranking as the number 100 LB in his class. By his senior year, his football recruitment had overtaken his basketball recruitment, accepting a scholarship from Virginia, and turning down basketball scholarships from mid-major schools.
Snowden was a three-year starter for Virginia, playing the WILL LB in the 3-4 base scheme. Was a basketball based athlete most of his life, but has proven to be a versatile defender since switching to football. He is a lanky and flexible athlete with solid read/react skills and good range. Plays physically at the point of attack, but must add mass in order to boost his play strength. Scheme fit will be important for Snowden’s ability to stick in the NFL. His athleticism and frame are an intriguing combination as a hybrid EDGE player in a 3-4 scheme.
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