One of the neat things about being part of SB Nation is the access we have to their various experts throughout the network. If we want more details about the Chicago Bears' next opponent, we'll talk to one of our sister sites. If we want the skinny on the NFL Draft, we'll hit up our draft editor. And if we want some insight on the latest rookie class for the Chicago Bears, we'll go straight to the site that has covered their entire collegiate career.
Recently we had the chance to talk with Poseur, who is one of the Editors of And The Valley Shook, the SB Nation site that covers the LSU Tigers, about defensive tackle Ego Ferguson.
Windy City Gridiron - Most Chicago fans were surprised at Ferguson being drafted in the 2nd round, but Bears GM Phil Emery points to his exceptional ability to clog the middle and stop the run. Did you view that as his strength last season?
And The Valley Shook - Going into the year, to be honest with y'all, most of us expected Freak Johnson to be the big playmaker on the line. And while Freak ended up with more tackles behind the line, I think the general consensus is that Ego was the far more productive player. He was an anchor in the middle of the defense and he was the guy drawing the double teams. He was a rock in the middle of the defense and surprisingly, our best player in the front seven.
WCG - Ferguson had only one sack in his three years at LSU; was he able to generate any type of pressure on the passer or does he look to be primarily a two down player?
ATVS - In his defense in 2012, Mingo and Sam Montgomery combined for 12.5 sacks and Ego wasn't a starter. There wasn't much call or opportunity for him to be blitzing up the middle. But that's not really how the LSU defense works. We ask the defensive tackles to control the middle and occupy the blockers while our ends get all of the glory of knocking the hell out of the QB. He provides pressure from the middle, but his role is not to pursue the QB, particularly in a league that's seeing more and more spread offenses. He's a smart player who isn't going to be caught out of position.
WCG - Scouts call him a raw prospect; what do you see as his biggest technical deficiency as he transitions to the pro game?
ATVS - He doesn't inflict pain. He gets off the ball quick, but he doesn't really use his size to overwhelm lineman. After I praised him for knowing his assignment, part of that is a lack of aggressiveness. He just doesn't fire into the opposing lineman and send them backwards. He's got good footwork, but he's not as refined in the upper body. He doesn't have an elite move to get past the lineman and to the quarterback.
WCG - He had a medical issue that caused him to miss their bowl game last season; was that the same ankle injury that caused him to skip some combine events? Were there any other medical issues he had at LSU?
ATVS - I'm always skeptical of anything during draft season, so I'm not going to speculate what his injury was during the combine or how severe it was. It could be the same injury, or it could just be an excuse to skip some events. Ego didn't crack the starting lineup until this season, and he was healthy all year.
WCG - Scouts seem to vary on his playing demeanor, with one saying he needs "more glass in his diet" and another saying he's "aggressive" and plays with a "chip." What are your thoughts on this?
ATVS - He's a high energy guy, but I can't agree that he's very aggressive. To contrast him to another LSU lineman, Barkvious Mingo was aggressive. Ego is nothing like that. Now, aggression can be a negative as well, and I like how Ego doesn't run his way out of plays a whole lot, but he's more of the immovable object than the irresistible force. He doesn't lack for confidence, but I would like for him to find some anger to play with. He'll need it to succeed at the next level. I don't see him ever being a star, but I do think he's going to have a long, solid career.
Thanks again to Poseur of And The Valley Shook!