In this ongoing series we'll take an in-depth look at each position on the Bears with an eye towards 2012. Thanks to Pro Football Focus, we'll be able to give a different perspective on the players by showcasing their unique grading system.
We've already hit on the special teams and the offensive side of the ball, so kicking off the D will be the defensive tackle position. A position that I think is in capable hands.Henry Melton - Signed through 2012 - Although he was narrowly beat out for the WCG Most Improved Player award he still had a career year. There were some games were Melton looked the part of the dominant Tampa 2 three technique DT. He had the 2nd most sacks from the DT position (7), the 3rd most QB hits (9), and the 7th most QB pressures (23). I'm ecxited to see Melton build off his lone year as a starter in the NFL. My guess is if he has a similar start like last season the Bears will try and extend his contract.
Pro Football Focus had him graded as their 17th DT/NT with a +11.2. As a pass rusher he was 6th at +10.0 and his grade against the run was a neutral 0.6, which was way down at 56th overall. His ability to play the run should improve in 2012.
Anthony Adams - Signed through 2012 - After starting all 16 games in 2010, Adams only started 4 in 2011. Some nagging injuries limited him to appearing in only 11 games as well. Of the 5 DTs that received playing time, his 295 snaps was fewest, but of the 5 he had the highest grade vs. the run with a +3.2. Double A is set to make $1.9 million in '12, most of all the DTs, so he is a candidate for a cap casualty.
Amobi Okoye - Free agent - Okoye was a good free agent signing last year. In hindsight I'm sure the Bears are wishing they had signed him for more than the one season. Okoye was 9th in sacks from the DT/NT position (4), 10th in QB hits (6), and 9th in QB pressures (21). The Bears would be wise to bring Okoye back if possible as he's a good fit in their DT rotation and he won't turn 25 until this summer. PFF had him ranked 30th with a +4.4.
Stephen Paea - Signed through 2014 - It took Paea 6 weeks to even get on the field, but he made the most of his opportunity with a sack, a safety, and 3 QB pressures in his debut. He has a unique combination of strength and quickness that would allow him to play both DT spots for Chicago. PFF gave him a neutral 0.3 on the year.
Matt Toeaina - Signed through 2013 - Toeaina started all 12 games in which he played last year, and PFF had him down at #73 with a -5.6. He only had two positively graded games and those came in weeks 13 and 14. I've never seen any 'wow factor' from Toeaina. He's average against the run, and he isn't that good of a pass rusher. At least with Adams at the nose, the Bears will get above average run defense. The Bears seem to like Toeaina's play and he'll more than likely be back in 2012.
Jordan Miller- Terms undisclosed - I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but today was the first I've heard of Jordan Miller. He may be a camp body in '12.
2012 OUTLOOK - I think the Bears may justify cutting Adams with the re-signing of Okoye and an extension for Melton on the horizon. Even if Okoye signs elsewhere, an improved Paea may force Adams off the roster. I'm not sold on them carrying 5 DTs again in '12 so I'd expect someone to go. They may decide to go with a young run stuffer in the draft, and that wouldn't surprise me, but I doubt they look at any free agent DTs.