Thanks to us being a part of SB Nation, we have access to a lot of neat things, one of which is our ability to talk with the college sites that covered the newest members of the Chicago Bears.
In this series of Five Questions With..., we'll try learn a little more about the 2016 rookie class, both the draft picks and also some of the undrafted free agents.
Today we're talking with the Site Manager of Miner Rush, Alex Nicolas (@NicolasAlex915). Miner Rush is the SB Nation site that covers the University of Texas-El Paso Miners, you can follow them on Twitter @sbnminerrush. We asked Alex some questions about Bears' priority UDFA, defensive lineman/outside linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris.
Windy City Gridiron - The Bears are probably* going to play Robertson-Harris as an outside linebacker, how much was he playing from a 2 point stance at UTEP and how often, if at all, did he drop back in coverage?
Miner Rush - It was very rare to the naked eye, but he was used in a number of different ways which can translate into an outside linebacker role even with his hand in the ground for most of his career. Roy was a big centerpiece for former UTEP defensive coordinator Scott Stoker and was moved all over the front four, and used a lot in fire zone looks protecting things underneath in UTEP's blitz heavy 4-2-5 scheme. If he did drop back deeper than a seven yard radius the percentage would be very low, he was mainly a gap plugger, and run stopper whose main coverage assignments were underneath and not very deep.
* The Bears have him listed at defensive line on their website, but in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun Times, he talked as though he was still preparing to play OLB.
WCG - This guy is an athletic freak, but he only managed 8.5 sacks in his career (according to College Football Reference). Was that a scheme thing, a lack of overall talent on D thing, bad coaching thing, or was he just not a very good pass rusher?
MR - Big time scheme thing.
Roy was used in a lot of fire zones and even recently admitted that he didn't get to rush as much as he could have as UTEP blitzed safeties heavily. He was used in a number of different capacities as previously mentioned, probably due to UTEP lacking depth in certain areas on the defensive side. He drew tons of game plan attention from opposing offensive coordinators, so while his stats don't scream must-draft or must-have, but he wasn't used as an every down pass rusher as you would expect.
WCG - The Bears have a loaded OLB position group, so his best chance at making an impact could come on special teams. How much, if any, experience does he have playing on special teams?
MR - Very minimal experience on special teams while at UTEP, but he assured me at his Pro Day that he understands the importance of producing on special teams at the next level, something UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler talks about in depth to his NFL prospects. This is where I truly think he will make his mark in preseason games this fall. A 6'6, 260 pound dude who can fly and tackle is like a NFL Special Teams coaches dream in my opinion. Bears fans will love his energy on special teams, no doubt.
WCG - Most internet scouts had him pegged as a draftable player, why do you think he went undrafted?
MR - That's a damn good question.
We all knew before the season he was UTEP's best pro prospect, but was a long shot to be drafted in September, but really, really, really, impressed scouts and NFL Draft talking heads at this Pro Day. That performance made me think someone would snag him in the late 6th round or 7th round. It's definitely an enigma, and could be because the fact he didn't have the stats or all-conference status as other guys drafted, but going undrafted appeared to not shake Roy's confidence one bit.
WCG - Robertson-Harris was one of the most sought after undrafted free agents, so he probably has a good shot at making an NFL roster, but can you see him having a solid NFL career?
MR - There's no doubt he can have a career. He improved his lateral movement, and hips in coverage which was shown in his Pro Day, and it showed me he has the mental gene needed to adjust and work hard at the next level.
Fitting in the right system as a pass rush specialist or any type of specialist a defense can use is what Roy has to find in order from having a career compared to an NFL stint.
Time, mini-camps, and training camps will tell if it's with the Bears, but you're right, he drew tons of interest, and will be on NFL radars over the next few years, and on a higher level if he produces this preaseason in Chicago.
Thanks to Alex for helping us out.