One of the biggest parts of the predraft scouting process has arrived as teams are getting a close look at many of the senior prospects at the 2014 Senior Bowl this week.
Unlike last week's East-West Shrine Game, there are a number of top prospects in this game. While players who expect to be top 20 picks typically skip this part of the process—fearing injury or hurting their draft stock—there are several other prospects who greatly improve their stock with performances in the practices leading up to the game.
The Bears enter this offseason needing help on every level of their defense and they're getting a good look at players who could start for them next season.
One thing that appears clear is a change in defensive philosophy. The Bears have run a one-gap Tampa 2 scheme ever since Lovie Smith came in 2004. A decade later, change is coming.
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker failed to adapt to the scheme last season and appears to be doing things a bit differently this year. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears hired Paul Pasqualoni and Reggie Herring to their coaching staff. Herring is expected to be the linebacker coach and Pasqualoni could be coaching their defensive line, although that has yet to be stated publicly.
Both coaches have extensive backgrounds in 3-4 defenses and Tucker coordinated a 3-4 defense under Romeo Crennel in 2008. Although they haven't stated anything yet—for obvious reasons—it's a good bet that the Bears will run a hybrid defense, if not a full switch to a 3-4, next season.
That could change the scouting process for the Bears going forward. As they prepare at the Senior Bowl, here are a few things to keep an eye out for.