Kudos to the Bears for leaning heavily on improving the offense with how they went about drafting last weekend. And caps off to you, our wonderful readers, who made it this far in our series. We have reached its conclusion. And what a ride it has been!
Selecting Khyiris Tonga put a bow on Chicago’s 2021 NFL Draft class. And did so in a large way. Tonga was one of only two defensive players chosen by the Bears last week. But the pick is one that fits what the team is all about in the trenches. We’ve seen how putting a large human who eats space and blockers in the middle of the line of scrimmage does for Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and others. So while I don’t believe Tonga is coming for Eddie Goldman’s job any time soon, it’s nice to see the Bears draft depth at what is clearly an important position on their defense.
THE PICK (ROUND 7, PICK 250)
• Name: Khyiris Tonga (23)
• College: BYU
• Position: Defensive tackle
• Measurements: 6-2, 325 pounds, 31-inch arms, 9 5/8-inch hands
STATS TO KNOW
• 2020 stats: 11 games, 36 tackles (11 solo), 3.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
• Career stats: 47 games, 130 total tackles (68 solo), 16 tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks, 12 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles
• Position ranking: 18th (ESPN), 14th (Pro Football Focus), 14th (The Draft Network), 24th (Pro Football Network)
THREE STRENGTHS (FROM NFL.COM’s DRAFT PROFILE)
• “Finishes tackles with a crashing thud.” … I like the sound of that..
• “Eats up space to clog the A-gaps. … Reads and reacts to flow of the run play.” … This seems like a one-two punch of what you’d want from a developing defensive lineman.
• “Flicks blocks away with shed twitch.” … I can’t wait to see this strength in action at the pro level.
THREE WEAKNESSES (FROM NFL.COM’S DRAFT PROFILE)
• “Loses some ground at times due to a lack of knee bend.” … There’s going to be stuff that needs to be worked on here. We’re talking about a seventh-round pick, after all.
• “Pushed around against San Diego State.” … San Diego State isn’t known for having maulers on its offensive line.
• “No real go-to counters to turn the rush in his favor.” … New DL Coach Chris Rumph Sr. has his work cut out for him with someone who could slide in as an immediate reserve nose tackle.
NFL.COM COMPARISON: N/A
WHERE TONGA FITS
Tonga has 24 games of experience under his belt over the last two years, which includes 22 starts. With his size and stature, Tonga appears to line up as Chicago’s backup nose tackle. And with only Eddie Goldman ahead of him on the depth chart, it’s important that Tonga get up to speed as quickly as possible. Space-eating defensive tackles don’t grow on trees. So to get one in the seventh round is a nice find. It sure beats the alternative of having to seek one out on the waiver wire in a moment of desperation.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 4, 2021