Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Joel Iyiegbuniwe - Chicago Bears Select a Linebacker More Into Telling Than Spelling

The Bears first three picks were all fairly well known players and made scouting them rather easy. After that, the Bears went slightly more obscure in their choices. I'm not a snobby guy who thinks that brand names are always better, so that is why I am excited to tackle the second half of the Bears draft, starting with Western Kentucky Linebacker, Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Unfortunately, I'll be tackling it without video, so let's get weird with this one.

Athletically, Iyiegbuniwe is fairly average.
He had a very good 40-yard dash, but outside of that, he was middle of the pack in just about every category that was measured at the combine, unless you're one of those people who really loves linebacker hand size, in which case, there are two categories that he shined in at the combine.

Iyiegbuniwe was a tackling machine during his Junior season as he racked up 117 tackles, and although he only had two sacks, he did put up 11.5 tackles for loss. He was a Conference USA first-team defensive selection at linebacker.

The Bears did put up a one minute highlight video of Iyiegbuniwe, and their video department either left some to be desired or this guy really doesn't have many impressive plays. I'm going to bet on the former as NFL Network did name him the Bears sneaky good draft pick.

So what to make of Joel Iyiegbuniwe? He's a good but not great athlete who made a lot of tackles for Western Kentucky last year. He was able to make some plays in the backfield but does not have any bonafides as a pass rusher. After drafting Roquan Smith, the Bears need more help on the outside than they do at inside linebacker, although Iyiegbuniwe is likely to start off as a backup at either position. If he's a special teams contributor and plays competent at linebacker in limited time, it will be considered a success. If he can bloom into an average starter down the line, then that would be fantastic. I know it isn't sexy, but getting competent depth is a huge upgrade for a Bears defense that has been the shits for years. Most importantly, I can now spell Iyiegbuniwe without looking it up. 

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