The Chicago Bears took a relatively unknown in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, when they plucked Ashland’s Adam Shaheen with the 45th overall pick. A lot of fans had never heard of the 6’6”, 278 pound tight end, but he was a known commodity around the NFL.
NFL.com had him down for a grade of 5.83, which in their grading system equates to a “chance to become NFL starter.”
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar had Shaheen down as his number 4 TE and his 71st ranked player overall.
CBS Sports had him down as their 51st ranked overall player, Drafttek had him as their 56th ranked overall player and Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace, said he was the top player on their board when they picked him.
So did the Bears reach a little? Maybe. Will it matter if he can become the player Pace envisions? No.
Here’s the full transcript from after day two of the draft.
Here’s what he said about gaining weight in college by eating Chipotle.
“It was just a grind to put on that kind of weight and still maintain my athleticism. It was a good grind for those 2 years.”
And his reaction on finally making it to the NFL.
“I’m speechless right now but I’ll be ready to go to work in the morning.”
Going from a small school in Ashland, here’s what he thinks will be his biggest adjustment coming to the NFL.
“Just how quickly I can, adapt to this level. I think it’s something that I’m very capable of, the Bears do too. I’m just really excited to get to work and get grinding and show everybody what I can do.”
On when he knew he was capable of playing in the NFL.
“At the beginning of this year, scouts started coming in and you know just physically when you look at the size and speed I had similar characteristics of these guys going in the NFL, so just knowing that, evened it out with the Division II level and I knew I would be able to play and have an opportunity. I kept working at it and you know developed into a complete tight end.”
Like a lot of NFL tight ends, Shaheen has a basketball background, here’s what he said about his decision to switch from basketball to football.
“I just really missed football, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to play football coming out of high school because I was so thin. But I kind of had a bug in me after watching the Ohio State game and I just made the switch after that year, and you know I’m very happy I did.”
On who played in that game
“Ohio State and Wisconsin.”
Here’s Shaheen on his interaction with Bears in the pre-draft process.
“I met with them at the Combine, at the official interview, and then the tight end coach came out to Ashland and we watched some film the night before Pro Day and just hung out a little bit. Then, he was at Pro Day and worked me out there too.”
When asked if he had a year of eligibility left he said, “Yes.”
Here is reasoning on his decision to turn pro.
“At the time I thought, I'd just play in Division II, and I did all I could really do to help my draft stock there even another year at that level. I didn't think after discussing with my family and friends and stuff that it was really going to increase my draft stock if I did this, similar to what I did the previous two years. So, coming out was the best decision and opportunity for me when you account for potential of injury and all of the rest of that stuff.”
On if he is a better receiver or blocker right now.
“I just wanted to come into this draft and really show that I could do both. I was asked a lot more in college to catch the ball, and I was very successful at that but I also did a lot of blocking. We ran a lot of power and off-tackle stuff so, I was in there blocking as well... that's what I love to do as well. Right now I think the tape will show that I have pretty good hands but I want to be a complete guy that's going to do it all.”
From the little tape I saw, he’s a willing blocker that will need to be coached up, but he definable has the size and strength to get better.
On his growth spurt and how he gained weight.
“Yeah, I started growing really late in high school, I was a really late bloomer. Coming out I was only like 6' 4 1/2", maybe 6' 5" coming out of high school and 195 pounds. I mean I played basketball at first so I didn't really put on any weight, but then the weight followed the next couple of years I was at Ashland and I was able to maintain my speed while gaining the size that it was going to take to put myself into the position that I am tonight.”
What do you see as your greatest strengths in the red zone?
“My physicality and ability to go up and get the ball. I know there's a knock on Division II football, but one thing they don't account for is that they don't call pass interference in Division II so people are just mugging you left and right, so that's something that we had to deal with, and it's something that you know I was very physical back with them.”