John Timu was a tackling machine at the University Of Washington, averaging 92 tackles a year from his sophomore to his senior season. He ended his career as the 7th leading tackler in the Pac-12, albeit that stat has only been tabulated since 2005. Regardless, he was a force on some very talented Huskies’ teams.
His collegiate career led him to the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2015, and in his two years as a pro, he’s made seven starts in 18 career games. Timu has racked up 43 tackles in that time on defense. Last year he played in 17.2% of the teams snaps on D, and 32% of their snaps on special teams.
Timu’s skill set is a better fit as Chicago’s Mike backer in their 3-4 defense, as his strengths are in attacking downhill. I like him as a backup, but he’ll still need to have a strong camp to win a job in 2017
Age: 24 (25 by the start of the season)
Experience: 3rd year
Weight: 245 lbs
Contract and salary cap:
According to Spotrac, Timu’s UDFA deal was for three years, and this season he’s set to make $615,000. After this year he will be a restricted free agent.
Reason for improvement in 2017
Timu never seemed to be outmatched physically, so if his knowledge of the defense continues to improve, his play speed should improve as well. His overall playing time increased from his rookie season to last year, so if he can continue his upward progression, maybe he sticks around.
Reason for regression in 2017
He’s a relatively young player, so I don’t think we’ll see him regress, but I also don’t think his roster spot is locked. The Bears drafted Nick Kwiatkoski last year in the fourth round, and he leaped over Timu on the depth chart as a rookie. Last season, Kwit was the primary back up to both Bears’ inside linebacker starters and he’s set to do the same in 2017. Things just may be too crowded for Timu to stick around in Chicago, depending on how many total linebackers they keep on the roster. I do believe he would probably find a home elsewhere if the Bears release him.
Final roster odds
If Danny Trevathan starts the season on the PUP list, Timu’s odds to make the opening day roster increases. Timu will be in competition with Jonathan Anderson who was in the same UDFA class with Timu and Christian Jones, who offers some position flexibility.