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This series of Five Questions With... will focus not only on the 2015 draft class for the Chicago Bears, but some of the undrafted free agents as well. This series of articles has become one of my favorites to do here at Windy City Gridiron, as I feel it gives us an added insight to the new players on the Bears.
Next up we'll hit on another of the undrafted free agents and talk with Jerry Steinberg, who is the Managing Editor of State Of The U, the SB Nation site that covers the Miami Hurricanes, about defensive lineman Olsen Pierre.
Windy City Gridiron - With the Bears transitioning to a 3-4 defense they need more competition at defensive end. Pierre seems to have prototypical 3-4 DE size (6'5", 300), but I've seen Pierre mostly listed as defensive tackle. Did he have any experience playing DE at Miami, or was it all inside at DT?
State Of The U - The Hurricanes and their often maligned DC Mark D'Onofrio ran a multiple front defense. So on different plays, different players could be seen anywhere along the front. For instance Steelers 6th round pick Anthony Chickillo played 3-4 end on early downs, but moved inside a lot on passing downs. However Pierre was mostly a rotational DT. I can't think of many instances other than maybe goal line situations where he played any at DE.
WCG - Pierre didn't exactly fill up the stat sheet, 32 total tackles last year, but is that because he was asked to tie up blockers so his linebackers could make the play in Miami's scheme?
SOTU - Quite frankly he did not play that much last year. Players like JUCO transfers Calvin Heurtelou and Michael Wyche, and freshman Courtel Jenkins and Anthony Moten, appeared to pass him pretty early on the depth chart. His sophomore year he did collect 5 tackles for loss, and get much more PT. To your point though, his primary role when he was in games the past few seasons was to occupy blockers in D'Onofrio's scheme.
WCG - Pierre saw action as a true freshman in 2011, then was a fixture along Miami's defensive line the last three years. Was this a player that made marked improvements year to year or was he just coasting by on talent?
SOTU - He actually came to Miami with out much hype and wasn't exactly being recruited that heavily. So I'd much rather say he was a hard working overachiever who while big, isn't exactly explosive and super skilled, rather than say he coasted on talent. His best season was 2 years ago when he registered those 5 TFL and had a game clinching sack on Logan Thomas against Virginia Tech.
WCG - What is Pierre's biggest strength?
SOTU - Pierre is very strong at the point of attack and can occupy blockers. If he gets his hands on a QB or ball carrier, they are going down. Brute force is easily his biggest strength.
WCG - Bottom line, do you think Pierre has what it takes to make an NFL roster?
SOTU - I hate to knock the kid because by all indications he was a team player and did everything asked of him, but quite honestly no. When I read he was signed as a UDFA I was a little surprised considering his senior season was very quiet. But a kid with his size who has played in a lot of different schemes is definitely worth a look. If he catches fire during training camp, perhaps he can stick as a depth player.
Thanks again to Jerry Steinberg for giving us the inside scoop on Olsen Pierre!