Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
During the 2013 season, the Chicago Bears finished the season tied for 31st in sacks with 31, a year after finishing eighth with 41 sacks. Julius Peppers was a shell of his former self, and due to injuries, Corey Wootton spent the majority of his season playing inside at the 3-technique. Shea McClellin finished the season with four sacks and has not lived up to the hype of a first-round pick.
Wootton is set to become a free agent, and Peppers could wind up being a cap-casualty due to what is expected to be a large cap hit in 2014, according to Spotrac. Considering the fact that other than Peppers, the only defensive ends currently on the roster are McClellin, David Bass, Cheta Ozougwu and Cornelius Washington, the Bears will likely look to the draft to add to their depth.
Enter Jackson Jeffcoat.
The son of former first-round pick Jim Jeffcoat, Jackson hopes to replicate the success of his father at the NFL level. The elder Jeffcoat played 15 seasons in the NFL while notching 102.5 sacks and winning two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.
Jackson, after being highly recruited out of high school, had three devastating injuries but bounced back and finished the 2013 season with 12 sacks en route to being named AP All-First Team.
Scouting reports and big boards have him ranked all over the place with CBS Sports and NFL Draft Scout listing him as a second-round pick, and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has him going in the third round.
Jeffcoat's current size may make him a better option as a standup linebacker in a 3-4 defense, a defense the Bears hinted about changing to, per a report by Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, but with some added weight, he could be a 4-3 defensive end.
One reason he could slip to the third round is his lack of strength, and he will need to address that heading into the draft. He has a good first step, plays with good gap integrity and plays well against the run. He has the ability to get to the quarterback but has been inconsistent at times.
If the Bears can sign a viable option via free agency at defensive end, Jeffcoat could be a solid project in the third round that has the versatility to play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense.