Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Breaking Down the Chicago Bears Third Round Pick: Florida Defensive Lineman - Jonathan Bullard

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and it appears that the Bears have a plan in place. Did I agree with that plan at every twist and turn? No, not really, but I also really enjoyed some of their moves so it all balances out. And they were active, and that definitely made for an exciting weekend. But what's done is done. The picks I like will obviously work out, and hopefully my genius fails me on the picks that I didn't like. So far, I have had the chance to break down:

First Round Pick: Leonard Floyd, Linebacker, Georgia
Second Round Pick: Cody Whitehair, Offensive Guard, Kansas State

Today we break things down with the Bears third round pick, Florida defensive lineman, Jonathan Bullard. I think this was the most universally loved pick that the Bears had in the draft as Bullard arguably had first round talent, so to snag him in the middle of the third was excellent potential value for the Bears. He's also one of the most athletically gifted talents in the defensive line as shown by his SPARQ score, and he showed at the combine that he is explosive in every conceivable way. I decided to see if the hype was real by checking out his games against Alabama, Tennessee, and Ole Miss.

When watching film of the guy, you can tell that he has a motor and can make plays all over the field. Not only will he be an asset against the run game, but he has the skills to provide pressure from the inside and outside as Florida moved him inside and outside to best take advantage of his abilities.

It was weird, because early on in the Tennessee game, he wasn't very impressive. My optimistic viewpoint was that maybe he was just given trouble with all the misdirection that they run in their offense, but he really wasn't doing much of anything. He got absolutely washed out of a run play that turned into a 20-yard gain for the Volunteers. Starting with these plays, he decided to dominate everything in his path.

On this play, he completely blows up the line and immediately forces the runner to the outside where he is met with a bevvy of Florida defenders and the play goes absolutely nowhere. I obviously cut this play short, because good god, that is some impressive burst.

A couple plays later, on third and short, he more more than made up for his earlier struggles.
Bullard goes right across the guard's face whose only job is to not let Bullard do that and meets Jalen Hurd in the backfield before he can get the first down.

As you can see, Bullard is absolutely explosive off the snap, and there may be no better example of that as he causes havoc against opposing offenses.
Uh...yeah. That's not fair.

Just steamrolling a center on his way to the quarterback.
Yo 75, if 90 is coming, through, clear the damn way.

As for the Alabama game, there weren't many highlights as Bullard was mostly contained. When he went up against the right side of the offensive line, he was able to get penetration consistently, but that C-LG-LT trifecta is the truth for the Tide. The Center was drafted in the middle of the first round which is about as high as any Center is ever taken. The LT is projected to be a top-10 pick, and honestly, the LG (who committed to Iowa before flipping to Bama) simply doesn't mess up. Bullard fought valiantly, but he wasn't nearly as effective as he had shown in other games. Even with that, it's not like Bama had their way moving him around, but they were able to slow down the penetration and minimize his impact.

As you can probably tell, I am a huge Bullard fan. Florida was able to move him all over the line, and he was able to cause havoc no matter where he was. Using him as a 3-4 end on first and second before putting him inside to rush the passer on third downs will be a great use of his versatility. Honestly, had I seen him blowing up plays like this in the Mountain West or Sun Belt, I would have been pretty excited, but considering he was doing it against the SEC has me in a euphoric state of glee right now.

Bullard is going to be a beast for the Bears. Get pumped.

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