Friday, May 9, 2014
Ferguson connects with veteran DL coach
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Statistics can be deceiving.
The Chicago Bears clearly looked beyond LSU defensive tackle Ego Ferguson's modest career collegiate numbers (12 career starts, 85 tackles, five tackles-for-loss and one sack) when drafting him at No. 51 overall.
They obviously believe the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Ferguson will add fresh legs to an already decent rotation at defensive tackle that includes veterans Jeremiah Ratliff, Nate Collins and Stephen Paea. Because the Bears are so high on Ratliff at three-technique, general manager Phil Emery didn't have to necessarily find a Week 1 starting interior defensive lineman in the draft.
After Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman and Florida State's Timmy Jernigan were taken off the board, Ferguson was the next best option in the Bears' mind.
He can stop the run. Ferguson had 58 tackles in 2013 when he was named honorable mention All-SEC. Not to be redundant, but the Bears are determined to find players that thrive in run support.
Word is Ferguson still needs to develop better interior pass-rushing skills.
"You always need to work," Ferguson said Friday night. "I need to improve on pass-rush and my spin move. But one thing I always bring is my heart and my competitive nature. [I'll do] whatever it takes and for however long it takes to win."
Second-round picks are expected to contribute in Year 1, but Ferguson has the luxury of working on his technique with veteran Bears defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni until he's ready to be thrust into a starting role.
Ferguson told reporters at Halas Hall he had a positive meeting with Pasqualoni when he visited the Bears before his pro day.
"[Pasqualoni] has a great personality and he brought me to the office and we were talking ball for a long time," Ferguson said. "He asked me if I can play that two-technique, can I do it? He said that's what the Bears want me for. He showed a lot of interest."
Pasqualoni was an important hire for the Bears in the offseason. With more than 40 years of coaching experience, he is the perfect person to coach up younger defensive linemen that may possess above-average traits, but have yet to garner above-average success.
The Bears are counting on Pasqualoni to refine Ferguson's pass-rushing technique; just as Rod Marinelli did with Israel Idonije, Henry Melton and Corey Wootton before the veteran coach departed for Dallas after the Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith.