Chicago Bears: Tank Johnson

Bears pick DT Will Sutton in 3rd

May, 9, 2014
May 9
10:51
PM ET
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The pick: Will Sutton, defensive tackle, Arizona State.

My take: The Bears poured a massive amount of resources into repairing the interior of the defensive line with Sutton and second-round pick Ego Ferguson of LSU. Sutton, a two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year, had 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss for the Sun Devils in 2012 and likely projects to line up at three-technique in the NFL.

Sutton's numbers dropped last year when he registered only 48 tackles, four sacks and 13.5 tackles-for-loss. Many draft analysts believe Sutton's decline in production was due to his being overweight. Sutton said he is currently at 290 pounds but can continue to drop weight if the Bears want him to.

The defensive tackle was declared academically ineligible in 2010.

Sutton obviously made a positive impression on the Bears and defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni during his pre-draft visit to Halas Hall.

Double-dip: The last time the Bears went back-to-back at defensive tackles in the early rounds was 2004 when former general manager Jerry Angelo selected Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson. When Harris and Johnson were healthy and focused, they comprised one of the best defensive tackle combos in the league. The Bears would be absolutely thrilled if one day Sutton and Ferguson can grow into that role.

Both players are expected to be part of a rotation in 2014, but Sutton and Ferguson could be the future starters at three-technique and nose tackle, respectively.

What's next: The Bears hold four picks Saturday (Nos. 117, 156, 183, 191) but none in the seventh-round due to last year's trade with Dallas for tight end Dante Rosario. But the Bears do have an extra choice in the sixth round, courtesy of sending former first-round choice Gabe Carimi to the Bucs.

With cornerback and defensive tackle addressed, the Bears are expected to target help at linebacker, running back and perhaps safety, although the consensus top-five safeties are all off the board.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Many NFL observers felt Tank Johnson simply didn't fit into the Dallas Cowboys' 3-4 defense, and a change of scenery to Cincinnati's more conventional 4-3 scheme would lead to a higher level of play from the former Bears defensive tackle.

Johnson has yet to make an impact in Cincinnati (12 tackles, no sacks), partly because he has missed two of the past three games thanks to injury.

"I think he's going to be a good player for us," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday. "He was slowed a little bit the last few weeks by this foot injury, but he's getting better and better each day with time. I'm anxious for him to get 100 percent and going again.

"He's a very tough man, a strong man, explosive. He's smart and understands how to play. He's been well-coached throughout his career, both in college and during his time in Chicago. He has a great fundamental understanding of how to play defensive line."

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