It appears as though the Chicago Bears may have shifted their focus from fixing the secondary to targeting upgrades along the defensive line:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2017
Add John Jenkins to the list of defensive linemen on the Bears’ radar in this second wave of free agency.
Jenkins was drafted in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. For those unaware, Bears GM Ryan Pace was on the Saints staff at the time. He spent three full seasons there, but split the 2016 season between the Saints and Seattle Seahawks.
Pro Football Focus graded Jenkins as an above average player in 2014 (73.0) and 2015 (75.8), but his grade took a nose dive in 2016 (44.8) to the “poor” tier. There might be some bounce back potential in Jenkins, who Pro Football Rumors ranked as the 13th best interior defensive lineman in this free agent class.
The Bears had two players listed as interior defenders who graded poorly in 2016 with Mitch Unrein (51.8) and Jonathan Bullard (42.8), so an upgrade at the position should be in order. As for the nose tackle spot that Jenkins could help fill, Eddie Goldman (80.0 in 197 snaps) was seemingly on the verge of a breakout last year before a season-ending injury, while Will Sutton (74.8) graded as an average player in 174 snaps.
Fellow defensive lineman Vance Walker recently visited the Bears too, so we’ll see how many more potential targets walk through the Halas Hall doors before one signs on the dotted line.