Taking another look at some of the Bears players that don't always make the headlines. This week; linebacker and special teams stalwart Dom DeCicco.
DeCicco was signed in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. He played his college football as a defensive back at the University of Pittsburgh, where he had 12 career interceptions and 167 tackles. He made 36 starts for the Panthers and was named a first-team all-Big East in his senior year.
He has been seeing some action as a middle linebacker during this year OTAs, and recently said:
"It's really invaluable just being out there with the [veteran] guys," DeCicco said. "It makes you want to know your stuff even more because you don't want to let anybody down. Playing alongside Lance [Briggs] and Nick [Roach], I've learned a lot and they've been nothing but help."
Obviously, DeCicco is very inexperienced, although he did feature in 16 games last year, mainly seeing action on special teams, but finishing his first season in Chicago with 12 tackles.
The Bears saw more value in having DeCicco line up as a linebacker as opposed to a defensive back. I am sure his size played a big part in that decision. He is 6'4 and 230 lbs, but has good speed and agility that could make him a threat as a blitzing type of linebacker.
Dom is in the right place to learn the ropes. He is on the same roster as two of the best linebackers the Bears have ever seen in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. When remembering joining the team last year, he commented:
"It was really humbling. At first it was extremely tough because you're watching them on film and you're watching yourself and you're trying to compare yourself to them but you really can't because they're that good. It's tough to get used to that. But it makes you want to get that much better just seeing how good they are and where they're at and learning from them."
The Bears must be honest and realize that Urlacher and Briggs are entering the twilight of their career. Thought must be put into deciding who will take their place once they hang up their boots. Do Chicago already have those players ready and waiting, or will they have to look elsewhere to find the duo's successors?
More importantly, does Dom DeCicco have what it takes to step up and be considered a suitable replacement for two of the Bear's best?
Here's a ten second video of DeCicco laying the smackdown during a special teams return: