The era of the 3-4 defense is about to begin in Chicago and it has been a long time coming.
Finding the moving pieces to make this scheme thrive is going to be a rigorous process. One of the most important components to the 3-4 is strong play from the linebackers – both outside and inside and they will need A LOT of them. The Bears are going through their own roster as we speak to see if they have anyone to fill some spots, but it is hard to tell without seeing them on the field.
The 3-4 has a lot of moving parts. There are about 9-10 players who could be potential fits if they are not released or traded. And if they are not starters, they could very well factor in as situational rushers.
Jared Allen, Willie Young, David Bass, Cornelius Washington and Shea McClellin should all get a look at OLB. Whether they can adjust and execute remains to be seen. Jonathan Bostic, Christian Jones and Khaseem Greene will get a shot at ILB. I have a strong feeling that Jones could be a starter when the season begins. The Bears may also want to think about resigning Daryl Sharpton on a prove it deal. He could be a good fit in the middle as well, and has experience in the 3-4.
While there are a ton of unknowns above, there are free agents out there that fit the style of play that Vic Fangio is looking for. Below are OLB’s and ILB’s that could help get the Bears defense back to where it needs to be.
Pernell McPhee (Ravens) OLB
Jason Worilds (Steelers) OLB
Brooks Reed (Texans) OLB
Brian Orakpo (Redskins) OLB
Brandon Graham (Eagles) OLB
Brandon Spikes (Bills) ILB
Mason Foster (Buccaneers) ILB
David Harris (Jets) ILB
Nate Irving (Broncos) ILB
Malcolm Smith (Seahawks) ILB
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