Prospecting for Gold: Jared Crick, DE/DT

LINCOLN NE - NOVEMBER 13: Jared Crick #94 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs down D.J. Beshears #20 of the Kansas Jayhawks during first half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 13 2010 in Lincoln Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears fans love their lunch pail guys. I say that and you should immediately know the type; hard-nosed, tough guys, don't get national recognition, guys who play for years, lock down their position but maybe never get Pro-Bowl status. Guys like Big Cat Williams, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Izzy Idonije, Tom Waddle. Well Jared Crick is that type of guy; not explosive or a freak athlete, but a high motor, hardworker who is relentless. Just the type of player that Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli might love to work with.

Jared Crick played in all 28 games Nebraska played in 2009 and 2010 before some injuries slowed him down last year in his senior season. Crick measures in at 6'4" and 279 lbs. He played DT at Nebraska but at the Combine was put through the paces as a DE. He has potential to play end for the Bears but slide inside on certain plays, a la Julius Peppers and Izzy. The Bears aren't afraid to let their ends move around all over the place and that's something Crick offers.

From Grizzly Detail:

What's great about Crick is that he can play both end and tackle, meaning he can be as flexible with the Bears defense. Julius Peppers will sometimes move inside to throw off offensive linemen who double and even triple-team him. Crick can get in the rotation and take advantage of Peppers being held to take out the quarterback. He has the athleticism to bully linemen and get to the quarterback.

Here are his strengths and weakness courtesy of CBSsports:

Pass rush: Not an elite pass rusher. Sacks come with relentless effort, not initial quickness or varied pass-rush moves. Can swim over leaning guards to get into the backfield. Works toward the quarterback throughout the play, closes to the passer quickly for his size. Defeats cut blocks, jumps over blockers to chase down the ball. Uses his height and long arms to bat down passes.

Run defense: Assignment-sure defender. Holds up his man with extended arms, stays with the block down the line and sheds in pursuit. Anchors with lean and leverage to hold the line. Good hustle to chase stretch plays. Fights through double teams and doesn't over-extend against mobile quarterbacks.

Explosion: A tough assignment who gets production with effort and hand play, not an elite first step. Does not bull rush blockers into the backfield with a strong punch. Could be a nose/under tackle 'tweener for 4-3 teams due to a lack of explosiveness off the snap.

Strength: One of the toughest players in the class to move whether one-on-one or double-teamed. Very strong hands to rip off blocks. Gets good lean into the blocker and maintains the line.

Tackling: Secure tackler with closing speed and fair change of direction ability for his height and frame. Breaks down to tackle has the strong upper body to keep ballcarriers from wriggling free. Sniffs out screens, agile enough to chase down back to negate the play. Chases plays to the sideline or downfield. Will leave his feet to wrap.

Intangibles: Lunch-pail worker on and off the field who is becoming a more vocal leader as he matures. Wore sleeve on his right elbow in 2010. Missed spring 2011 practice with knee injury and suffered a torn pectoral muscle after five games.

The jury seems to be that he is a high-motor guy who isn't an elite pass-rusher, can disappear when double teamed but uses his hands well and makes up for what he lacks with drive and motor.

NFP has him ranked as the third-best DE and 39th overall, CBS has him 58th overall, NFL.com has him, according to their Combine page, as the 4th best DL and fftoolbox.com has him at 62 overall. So he would be just about right in the second round. If the Bears don't go DL in round one what about this guy in round two or three?

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