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Three Options for the Chicago Bears to Replace Brian Urlacher
- Updated: March 21, 2013
It was announced yesterday that the Chicago Bears were unable to come to an agreement with future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, and that the two sides will be parting ways.
This is a sad day for all Bears fans; for even though he is clearly at the tail end of his career, and by no means durable, he has been with the organization since 2000, and it will be strange not having number 54 in the middle of our defense. He is the seventh ranked linebacker in free agency after acquiring 1,353 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, and 22 interceptions over 13 years. In his illustrious career, he was under 100 tackles for a season just four times, and only once when playing all 16 games (93 in 2008.) One of those four times was last season, where Urlacher only tallied 68 tackles while missing four games due to injury. Many of the times he was playing, he did not seem like the same Urlacher we came to love. He would be out of position, out run by tight ends, he would be missing tackles, all things we never thought him capable of doing. As sad as it is, it is time to move on from the man who ranks 11th all time in tackles, and here are some options to replace him.
1. Alec Ogletree, rookie, Georgia.
I have been high on Ogletree all year, and have had him going to the Bears since my second mock draft. I first had Eric Fisher, but then players like Taylor Lewan went back to school, and Fisher shot up everyone’s draft board. Ogletree is the best inside linebacker prospect to me,and if it were not for off the field issues, he would probably be snatched up by a team earlier on. He finished with 112 tackles, three sacks, and an interception for the year, and, like Urlacher, was previously a safety. He ran a great 4.55 40 yard dash, making him faster than Urlacher, and he has natural athleticism. If the Bears can keep him from those issues that have nagged him off the field, he would be the perfect replacement for Urlacher.
Predicted statistics with the Bears: 96 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble.
2. Manti Te’o, rookie, Notre Dame.
Manti Te’o was a top ten pick to me before his National Championship game, and his combine performance. However, despite the ineffectiveness in the Championship, and 4.8 40 yard dash, Te’o is a relentless football player and leader. He finished the year with 111 tackles, and a whopping seven interceptions. If you watch his game tape, you can tell that he is fast on the football field, and he has natural instincts to get to the ball. I predict that he will run between a 4.6 and 4.7 40 at his pro day, and silence critics on his speed. If he falls to the Bears, he will be able to step in as a leader and as a very Brian Urlacher-like player with his coverage skills and ability to get after the ball.
Predicted statistics with the Bears: 93 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, two forced fumbles.
3. Karlos Dansby, Free Agent (Age 31), Miami.
Karlos Dansby was recently cut by the Miami Dolphins as they picked up Dannell Ellerbe from the Baltimore Ravens in free agency. He had the best season of his career last year as he registered 134 tackles and a forced fumble. He also has 11 career interceptions, and demonstrates very good skills in tackling, run support, and pass coverage. He has the speed to play the middle for the Bears, but he will not exactly be cheap. The Bears would have to make some room to sign the 6’4 linebacker, and they may be unable to do it, but he would certainly be worth it for a two to three year contract.
Predicted statistics with the Bears: 117 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles.
Well there we have it. It’s the end of an era, and the Bears do not have a lot of wiggle room in terms of cap room. These three players would be able to come in and make an impact immediately for the Bears. Whether it be the established veteran Dansby, or the leader Te’o, or the athletic specimen Ogletree, the Bears will be able to feel confident with their man in the middle. Thanks for the read, and make sure you check out the other articles on The Runner Sports!
(Photo one source) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1a/Brian_Urlacher_crop2.jpg/280px-Brian_Urlacher_crop2.jpg
(Photo two source) http://nflsfuture.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/alec-ogletree-presswire.jpg
(Photo three source) http://www.thethirdcity.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/mantiteotat.jpg
(Photo four source) http://helmet2helmet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/karlos-dansby.jpg
Author: Rob Wegley
Co-Owner of The Runner Sports, Senior Editor for The Runner Sports, Writer for The Runner Sports focused on the NFL and the NBA. Located in the Chicago area. Professional journalist since 2012.