Chicago Bears Insider: Is Marvin Austin the Answer at Defensive Tackle?

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IApril 15, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 7:  Marvin Austin #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels rushes against Brian Moore #68 of the Duke Blue Devils at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

You may have heard the rumors that have the Bears showing a lot of interest in North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin.  You may have also heard that he could go to the Bears in the first round, which at first sounds kind of crazy but after a while (and after a lot of watching tape) might not be a bad idea.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Austin has had his share of problems while he was in college.  While he was in school, Austin was suspended for the entire season due to accusations that he had taken benefits from agents or representatives of agents while he was in school. 

It was said that Austin and a friend of his were trying to get the best deal from agents who wished to represent him when he graduated, and he got caught.

Depending on who you talk to there are some who say they wouldn’t touch Austin with a “10-foot pole” because of the way that he acted with investigators.  They feel that he is a player they wouldn’t be able to trust and could be someone who would get in trouble in the NFL and quite possibly cost a team a lot of money.

So should the Bears take a chance on him?  What does Austin have to offer the Bears that could interest them enough to either take him in the first round or try to trade down to grab him later in the second round?

Austin possesses good size for the defensive position and is athletic despite his size.  He is able to explode off the line at the snap and take on blockers well.  He is able to get through the offensive line and get into the backfield and put pressure on the quarterback and is able to push and collapse the pocket. 

Austin has good hands and has some nice moves to get up the field and get to the quarterback.  He anchors well, can get up and down the line of scrimmage very well and has good strength at the point of attack.

Aside from his problems in being kicked off his team, Austin is not the most consistent defensive tackle in this year’s draft. 

He has been accused of taking plays off and doesn’t play 100 percent all of the time.  He has had problems on the field with his maturity level and did have some problems with the UNC coaching staff (two years ago he was held out of two games due to a coach's decision).  Once he gets his hands on an offensive lineman, he gives up at times.

He’s definitely a risky prospect.

So should the Bears take a chance on Austin?  Will he turn out to be another guy like Tank Johnson?

Taking players with risky backgrounds and bad character is typically something the Bears don’t do, and even though he has a lot of talent and would be a great prospect if he turned himself around and didn’t have any character issues, he is probably too much of a risk, especially in the first round.

If Chicago does find that they feel that his talent is too much for them to pass up then they need to wait and see if he falls to them in another round, like the third.  This way, if he does return to his old ways, they don’t have a lot invested in him.

But if they did take him they might want to get another defensive tackle just in case Austin doesn’t pan out.

What are your thoughts on Austin?  Should the Bears draft him?